leave of absence
Supervisor: HEGYI, Eszter
Chronic pancreatitis is a progressive inflammatory disease leading to irreversible morphological changes and impairment of both exocrine and endocrine functions. Genetics plays an important role in the pathogenesis of chronic pancreatitis, especially in children. Over the past 20 years the role of genetic factors in the etiology of chronic pancreatitis has been extensively studied and a mechanistic model in which premature trypsinogen activation plays a central pathogenic role has been established. More recently, an alternative pathomechanism unrelated to accelerated intrapancreatic trypsinogen activation has been revealed, in which mutation-induced misfolding and consequent ER stress lead to acinar cell damage and pancreatitis. Using animal models of genetically determined chronic pancreatitis we aim to study both pathomechanisms, the trypsin-dependent and the ER stress related pathways in vivo. Moreover, we also focus on the identification of new genetic risk factors in chronic pancreatitis using candidate gene association studies.
Our laboratory was recently established as part of the “Center for Pancreas Disorders” within the Institute for Translational Medicine of the University of Pécs. In the center the students will have the opportunity to master different techniques used in molecular genetics (DNA/RNA isolation, PCR, RT-PCR, Sanger sequencing, mutagenesis, Western blot), biochemistry (affinity chromatography, enzyme activity measurements), cell culture and mouse model experiments.
The students also will have the opportunity to perform some of the experiments in the laboratory of Professor Miklos Sahin-Toth (Boston University), who is a world-renowned researcher in the field of chronic pancreatitis focusing on the genetic background of the disease. Professor Sahin-Toth has a dual role in the projects; he is the director of the Center for Pancreas Disorders at the University of Pécs and he will also serve as an international collaborator.