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Darian Thomas

Graduate Student , Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

Dr. Maureen Gannon (Thesis)
Dr. Etoi Garrison (Clinical)


I am a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Maureen Gannon in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. The Gannon laboratory focuses on understanding pancreas development and regulation of beta cell mass by probing key genetic and signaling pathways in the developing embryo. Previous studies have shown that in utero exposure to a western style diet results in enhanced glucose stimulated insulin secretion as well as an elevated beta to alpha cell ratio in offspring. Interestingly, Type 2 Diabetes has been shown to develop in individuals after a period of insulin hypersecretion by beta cells in the pancreas. My work focuses on the impact that Metformin, a popular diabetes therapeutic, has on pancreatic islet development in offspring from mothers subjected to a western style diet. Through genetic studies, I will gather an understanding of the epigenomic and phenomic influence that gestational drug intake may have on the metabolic phenotype of future generations.