Researchers to Pool Knowledge of Pancreatic Cells and Computer Models in New Collaboration

Posted on 07.10.2020

Research into insulin-producing pancreatic cells brings Canadian professor to Odense, where computer models and analytical tools will strengthen research and create new possibilities.

Professor Patrick E. MacDonald of the University of Alberta in Canada is one of the world’s leading experts on the isolation and analysis of human islets of Langerhans cells, and has great expertise in the understanding of the behaviour of these cells. Assistant Professor Jesper Grud Skat Madsen of the University of Southern Denmark’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is an expert in computer modelling and analysis of the genetic and molecular properties of cells.

This combination is the start of a research collaboration arising from Patrick MacDonald’s visiting professorship, for which the Danish Diabetes Academy has made a grant of DKK 250,000.

‘We in my research group are very positive about data exchange and open interactions that facilitate diabetes research. Equally, my institution supports both formal and informal exchange programmes. In Denmark, I want to extend our many collaborative relationships with researchers, focusing on improving understanding of hormone secretion from the pancreas in type 2 diabetes’, says Professor MacDonald.

Opportunity to extend collaboration

Jesper Grud Skat Madsen is looking forward to the collaboration, and he feels that a well-prepared and well-equipped research group is in store, as the group has extensive knowledge and experience of the analysis and modelling of transcriptional regulation (the creation of a working copy of a DNA-like chemical, Ed.) and the integration of different types of data.

‘I am very excited about the collaboration on this interesting project, and I can see us expanding the scope of the collaboration at a later date’, notes Jesper Grud Skat Madsen.

Supporting Danish PhDs in their research

Future collaborative partners also include researchers at the University of Southern Denmark’s Center for Functional Genomics and Tissue Plasticity (ATLAS). As well as the prospect of extending collaboration in a number of areas, ATLAS Director Professor Susanne Mandrup is delighted that Professor MacDonald has agreed to support one of her PhDs in his research.

Finally, Professor MacDonald has also been in discussions with Associate Professor Jakob Knudsen and Professors Thomas Mandrup-Poulsen and Jens Holst of the University of Copenhagen, among others, about using his visit to Denmark to establish collaborative arrangements across the country.


Professor Patrick E. MacDonald, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, born 1976

Has been awarded DKK 250,000 by the Danish Diabetes Academy.

Title: Exploring islet cell sub-types in health and type 2 diabetes

Research centre: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark


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