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Emily Davidson

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Emily Davidson


I am a 5th-year combined PhD candidate in the departments of Environmental Health Sciences at the Yale School of Public Health and Cellular & Molecular Physiology at the Yale School of Medicine. Broadly, I study the relationship between oxidative stress, the health of the pancreatic islet, and diabetes. Markers of oxidative stress, the imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and antioxidant defenses, are commonly detected in pre-diabetic and diabetic patients. Glutathione is the most abundant intracellular antioxidant and depletion causes oxidative stress. In islets, derived from diabetic patients, reduced glutathione biosynthesis has been associated with dysfunctional glucose metabolism and impaired insulin secretion. However, the regulation of islet cell metabolism and insulin secretion by glutathione remains insufficiently described. Specifically, I employ novel transgenic mouse models and mammalian cell culture systems to study the role of glutathione in islet physiology. To this end, my project seeks to determine the implications of glutathione depletion in the development and function of the islet by integrating classical molecular biology methodology with “omics” (metabolomics, redox proteomics) and allied mass spectrometry-based metabolic analysis. Thus far, we have determined that embryonic islet glutathione biosynthesis is essential for neonatal islet development and function (publication in process). These studies will help elucidate the complex mechanisms underpinning the role of oxidative stress in the development and progression of diabetes.  

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