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Shelley Tischkau, Ph.D., portrait
Tischkau in her laboratory

February 15, 2010

SIU Med School Receives NIH Grant to Study Diabetes

A research scientist at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield has been awarded a four-year grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a division of the National Institutes of Health.   The study will examine how industrial pollutants in the environment may contribute to type 2 diabetes and has a total budget of $1,286,978.

Shelley Tischkau, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology at SIU, is the principal investigator for the project.

The research will study how environmental pollutants that enter the body activate the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), which is a contributing factor in the development of type 2 diabetes.  The study hypothesizes that AhR activation disrupts the molecular circadian clock in the liver and causes metabolic syndrome, a group of medical conditions that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  By measuring glucose levels and insulin use in mice, the research will attempt to understand how the receptor contributes to the body’s ability to process glucose.  The results of the study could lead to the AhR receptor being a target for treatment and eventual development of a drug to combat type 2 diabetes.

This is the third federal grant awarded for Tischkau’s research, which has focused on understanding the role of the AhR receptor.

Tischkau joined the SIU faculty in 2007.  She completed a four-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) (1999).  She earned her doctoral and master’s degrees in physiology at UIUC (1995, 1991).  She earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in biology at Truman State University (1989, 1986).