New Approach to Chew On – In the March 30 online issue of Diabetologia, Drs. Preeti Kishore and Meredith Hawkins report that xylitol, a sugar derivative found in chewing gum, can help prevent metabolic complications associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Circulating fatty acids (FA), a breakdown product from fat, are increased in obesity. These FAs hasten the progression of T2D by contributing to skeletal muscle insulin resistance, where the body’s inability to respond to insulin prevents glucose uptake by cells. The investigators found that xylitol was able to prevent FA-induced insulin resistance and had a renewing effect on cell uptake and conversion of glucose for energy, suggesting a potentially exciting therapeutic approach for treating T2D. Drs. Kishore and Hawkins are both members of Einstein's Diabetes Research and Training Center.
Interesting Development – Einstein researchers, Dr. Zaven Kaprelian and MSTP student Arlene Bravo-Ambrosio, have identified the control points at the molecular level that facilitate how motor neurons extend their signal-carrying axons out of the spinal cord during development. Motor neurons carry signals from the central nervous system and instruct muscles to move. Understanding the molecular underpinnings of this key process in the development of the vertebrate nervous system lays the groundwork for future rational design of therapies for the recovery of motor function in the injured and diseased spinal cord and brain. The duo reported their findings in the journal Development. Ms. Bravo-Ambrosio was lead author on the paper; she is an M.D.-Ph.D. student in Dr. Kaprielian’s laboratory. Dr. Kaprielian is professor of pathology and of neuroscience.
Recognizing Excellence — In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the College of Medicine, Dr. Harris Goldstein has been promoted to associate dean for scientific resources. Previously serving as assistant dean, Dr. Goldstein has worked tirelessly to improve Einstein’s core and shared facilities in order to provide Einstein investigators with access to the most advanced technologies in a cost-effective manner. In addition to overseeing scientific resources in the dean’s office, Dr. Goldstein serves as director of the Einstein-Montefiore Center for AIDS Research and is professor of pediatrics and of microbiology & immunology.