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Jason Bini, PhD, awarded NIDDK Development Grant for PET research on cortisol metabolism and obesity

June 24, 2019

Jason Bini, PhD, Associate Research Scientist, Yale University PET Center, has been awarded a K01 Research Scientist Development Award by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK: 1K01DK118005-01A1). The purpose of the NIDDK K01 award is to provide an intensive, supervised, research and career development experience for nonclinical, doctoral researchers as they transition to independent research careers. 

Jason’s project, entitled, “Direct measurement of 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11beta-HSD1) enzyme levels in obesity using a novel positron emission tomography radioligand,” will examine whole-body 11β-HSD1 enzyme distribution levels during normal physiology and in response to weight gain, insulin resistance and obesity using the novel 18F-FMOZAT PET radioligand in rodent and human populations.

The prevalence of obesity in the United States population is over 30%, predisposing a large portion of the population to metabolic diseases. Cortisol, a steroid hormone, is of critical importance in obesity, as it is responsible for stimulating gluconeogenesis in the liver and promoting adipocyte differentiation and maturation. Cortisol is activated from cortisone by the intracellular enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1). Whole-body PET imaging can provide a direct measure of the distribution of 11β-HSD1 allowing comparison to conventional methods using urinary or plasma cortisol metabolites in both lean and non-diabetic obese human individuals. A better understanding of cortisol metabolism, and particularly the relationship between an enzyme that activates cortisol and obesity, may inform more effective treatment strategies, improving quality of life and reducing societal burden.

Submitted by Angel Machon on June 21, 2019