Grant application to attend the 14th Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium in Germany, September 2017
Anais Kahve, University of Exeter Medical School, Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital
I am researching the mechanisms by which insulin producing beta cells respond to saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. This research is designed to improve the understanding of the causes and complications of type 2 diabetes.
Palmitate, a long-chain saturated fatty acid causes toxicity when incubated with pancreatic beta cells in vitro. Interestingly, however, oleate a long-chain mono-unsaturated fatty acid is not toxic and can even protect these cells against palmitate-induced toxicity. The mechanisms involved in mediating the differential responses to palmitate and oleate are unknown.
Some evidence implies that unsaturated fatty acids might promote the sequestration of saturated fatty acids within intracellular neutral lipid droplets and that this could reduce their toxicity. However, this has been difficult to evaluate without the use of labelled (often fluorescent) fatty acid derivatives. Raman spectroscopy is a label-less imaging technique which is now finding applications in cell biology and I am exploring its use to measure the size, intensity and composition of lipid droplets in beta cells during fatty acid exposure.
Attending the Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium will allow me to present my findings to leading experts in the field and to learn from their expertise as I develop my research.
I attended the conference which was spread over three days. The meeting went extremely well as I was able to meet with researchers using Raman spectroscopy in similar applications to mine: biological systems. The conference was hosted by WiTec, a company which sells both the microscopes for Raman imaging and the software required for analysis of the images.
I was able to speak with technical experts from WiTec and ask questions specific to my research. One aspect of my research involves determining the composition of triglycerides using Raman spectroscopy. I was shown a very robust method to answer this question. The method is far superior to the method I had been previously using and adds weight to the data.
I am extremely grateful to The Bioscientifica trust for funding my accommodation, travel and registration fee allowing me to attend the conference. If I had not attended, I would not have learnt about this robust method to improve the analysis of my data.
Grant awarded: £795