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Benoit Hastoy


Postdoctoral Researcher

I am currently a postdoctoral researcher in Professor Anna Gloyn's group based at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM). As a member of the DIVA consortium, I investigate the cellular physiology that underlies genetic predisposition for diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is a complex disease involving the interaction between genetic and lifestyle factors. Furthermore, physiological and Genome Wide Association (GWA) studies defined beta cell dysfunction as central in T2D development. The aim of my current projects is to study the impact of T2D risk variants on pancreatic beta-cell function and identify potential drug targets.  My research focuses mainly on live recordings using electrophysiology and microscopy (Confocal, Total Internal Reflection (TIRF)) on human primary beta cell and human beta cell models. In addition, I have recently started doing electron microscopy on immunogold labelled samples that provide high precision on the cellular ultrastructure. Limited availability of human preparation renders the study of human beta cells functions challenging. However, several human alternatives models have surfaced in the past few years. My ongoing work also involves the characterization of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC)-derived islet-like cells and that of human beta cell lines EndoC-betah1/-betah2. These human models represent an invaluable tool in clarifying the effect of T2D risk variants and beta cells dysfunctions. I enjoy being involved in the supervision of technician and DPhil students, as well as organising the journal club in the group.

Background: I started as a PhD student in Professor Jochen Lang's group in Bordeaux in 2008. My project was on the molecular mechanisms promoting exocytosis of insulin; more precisely, on the specific role of the transmembrane domain of the SNARE VAMP2 protein. I was also able to broaden my knowledge by interacting closely with researchers from different scientific backgrounds (biophysicians, bioinformaticians). In 2012, I moved to Oxford and joined Professor Patrik Rorsman's team for my first postdoctoral position. There, I learnt electrophysiology and broadened my skills on live cell imaging (i.e. calcium imaging). While involved in several collaborations, I started the culture and the electrophysiological characterization of the human beta-cell lines EndoC-betah1/-betah2.  In January 2015, I joined Professors Anna Gloyn's and Mark McCarthy's teams as a postdoctoral researcher working on an MRC Experimental Challenge Grant (DIVA) awarded to Professors McCarthy, Gloyn, Karpe and Rorsman.