Indian-American researchers find new target to control diabetes

In a thrilling discovery, two Indian-American researchers have identified a new potential therapeutic target for controlling high blood sugar – a finding that could help millions suffering from type 2 diabetes worldwide.

Researchers showed that lipid molecules called phosphatidic acids enhance glucose production in the liver.

The findings suggest that inhibiting or reducing production of phosphatidic acids may do the opposite.

“This study establishes a role for phosphatidic acids in enhancing glucose production by the liver and identifies enzymes involved in the synthesis of phosphatidic acids as potential drug targets,” explained Anil Agarwal, a professor of internal medicine at University of Texas’ Southwestern Medical Centre.

These observations were made while studying a mouse model of lipodystrophy, a rare metabolic disease in which the body is devoid of fat.

Lipodystrophy patients often develop diabetes and accumulate fat in the liver because of an imbalance in the body’s ability to properly regulate lipids and glucose.

The causal gene ‘AGPAT2′ which is involved in the synthesis of phosphatidic acid and triglycerides, was removed in the mice – resulting in rodents with generalised lipodystrophy.

The research team then examined what impact this genetic manipulation had on phosphatidic acids and glucose production.

“We expected the levels of phosphatidic acids to go down. However, in examining the livers of these lipodystrophic mice, we unexpectedly found high levels of this lipid class,” added lead author Shireesha Sankella, a post-doctoral researcher in the division of nutrition and metabolic diseases.

This led to the identification of new targets involved in the production of phosphatidic acids.

The buildup of these lipid molecules was due to an increase in the levels of two enzymes in the liver – diacylglycerol kinase and phospholipase D.

Researchers also discovered a marked increase in glucose production in the livers of the lipodystrophic mice.

The lack of normal insulin signaling in these lipodystrophic mice led to unrestricted production of phosphatidic acid, contributing to development of hyperglycemia or high blood sugar.

“Besides revealing a new potential therapy to test for treatment of diabetes, the findings may have implications in understanding how cancer develops,” Agarwal noted.

Increased phosphatidic acid levels may play an important role in a metabolic pathway that supplies energy to cancer cells, said the study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Source: Business Standard

USINPAC cheers for Indian American teenager Akanksha Patel for receiving the Presidential award

Akanksha Patel, an Indian American teenager from New Jersey, has received the US President’s Volunteer Service Award for her exemplary volunteer service.

Akanksha-PatelThe award, which recognises Americans of all ages for voluntary service, was granted by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards programme on behalf of President Barack Obama, according to

The award for 15-year-old Patel of Summit, a small city in New Jersey, was announced by the local Young Men’s Christian Association, which had nominated her for national honours, it said.

As a volunteer for the past year at the Summit YMCA, Akanksha contributed her time and talent to help care for children at birthday parties hosted at the YMCA as well as other volunteer activities.

Through these efforts, she has gained the satisfaction of giving back to her community.

“Akanksha loves volunteering. It has taught her valuable skills such as patience, responsibility, teamwork, time management and empathy for others,” Terri Clinton, executive director of the Summit YMCA, was quoted as saying.

“Her volunteer activities have helped her to grow by enhancing her social skills and by building relationships with individuals of all ages.

“She is a very responsible and courteous young lady with a caring nature and, most importantly, she treats everyone with a lot of respect.”

John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, said: “The recipients of these awards demonstrate that young people across America are making remarkable contributions to the health and vitality of their communities.”

The YMCA is a worldwide, non-profit network of clubs and institutions that operates under the belief that “everyone, regardless of income, age or background, deserves the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive”.

Source: Business Standard

USINPAC congratulates Somnath Bhattacharya on his appointment as Dean of the business school at St. Thomas University

Somnath Bhattacharya has been appointed dean of the business school at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Fla. The appointment is effective July 10

somThe Indian American has a Ph.D. in business administration with a concentration in accounting from the University of South Florida, an MBA in management information systems from Northern Arizona University and a B.A. from Jadavpur University in Kolkata. Bhattacharya was formerly associate dean and interim dean of the College of Business at Florida Atlantic University.

“Bhattacharya’s academic contacts in India and his wide reach in global business will be most valuable to the university’s academic global advancement plan, St. Thomas said in a press release.

Source: IndiaWest

USINPAC congratulates Indian American Susmita Roye for receiving the NEH award for Faculty

Susmita Roye, an Indian-American associate professor of English at the Delaware State University, has been named as a recipient of the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) Award for Faculty.

The award has been given in recognition and support of her current book manuscript project, which is about the women writers of India during British rule (1757-1947). She has tentatively titled the book “Mothering India”.

Roye, Susmita Dr 518Roye will receive financial support from the grant award, which will enable her to take some time off from teaching to finish the book.

She was one of only eight people to receive the award out of 101 applications, according to an announcement on the university website.

The NEH, an independent federal agency created in 1965, is one of the largest funders of humanities programmes in the US.

Previously, Roye co-edited and contributed a chapter to the book “The Male Empire under The Female Gaze”, which explored the perspective of British white women amid British rule of India.

Roye, who did her MPhil in English from the University of Calcutta in 2006 and PhD in English in 2011 from Britain’s University of Bristol, has been a faculty member of DSU since 2011.

Her research interests include “Women’s Writing, World Literature, Gender and Imperialism, Anglophone Literature of the World, Post/Colonial Literature, Orientalism, Race and Ethnic Studies, and Cultural Studies”.

Source: Business Standard