Amanda Oakie Winner of the Dr. Frederick Winnet Luney Graduate Scholarship


Amanda Oakie is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Dr Rennian Wang. Her research topic focuses on understanding receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) interplay in regulating beta-cell function and insulin release. This study examines c-Kit and insulin receptor (IR), two RTKs that are important for regulating beta-cell mass, proliferation, and insulin secretion. Three aims have been designed in order to investigate the mechanisms involved in c-Kit and IR interactions and the effects of their altered signalling under prolonged stress conditions: (1) examine c-Kit and IR interplay on receptor activation and signalling using in vitro beta-cell cell lines; (2) determine the effects of altered beta-cell c-Kit and IR signalling in aged mouse models; and (3) examine the role of IR in beta-cell function and insulin release in long-term high-fat diet fed mice. Examining the c-Kit – IR axis and the effects of pathway activation under prolonged conditions will provide a more comprehensive understanding of the role of RTKs in regulating beta-cell function, and results from these studies can potentially contribute to considerations made for diabetes treatments.