Matthew Merrins

Credentials: Medicine Department

Position title: Beta cell biology and diabetes


Phone: (256) 256-1901

Uw Med Fndtn Centennial Bldg
1685 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53705


lab website:

focus groups:

Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Physiology

research description:

My lab is focused on understanding oscillatory metabolic signaling in the pancreatic islet and its deficiency in type 2 diabetes. My lab specializes in single-cell approaches – principally live-cell imaging and electrophysiology – and since the lab’s inception we have developed a number of exciting tools which have given us new insights into diabetes pathophysiology. One example is fluorescence lifetime imaging of NADH (FLIM-N), which allows us to distinguish metabolic activity in each subcellular compartment of the pancreatic beta cell, including the mitochondria. Using FLIM-N and FRET imaging, we hope to understand the bidirectional communication between mitochondrial metabolism and the cell cycle machinery, mediated by cyclin dependent kinases. We are also focused on characterizing a number of mitochondrial proteins initially identified by RNA-seq as type 2 diabetes-associated loci; in this case, we are using Phy-PIF optogenetics to elucidate the mechanisms by which these proteins alter mitochondrial dynamics, metabolic oscillations, and insulin secretion.

ALSO A TRAINER IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: Biochemistry (IPiB), Biophysics, Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology (ERP), Nutritional Sciences (IGPNS)

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