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Diabetes – islet pathophysiology

Enming Zhang’s group

Our research

The deterioration of pancreatic islet cell functions is a prominent feature of diabetes. Islet cells express various cellular molecular sensors, for example ion channels. These respond to a variety of stimuli, such as voltage, chemical ligands, and mechanical/osmotic stimuli. The stimulus-sensor interactions typically regulate cellular functions to adapt to an abnormal environment, for example the diabetic condition. 

Our research focuses on characterizing the properties of the cellular molecular sensors in islet cells and controlling the sensors’ activities through multidisciplinary and advanced technologies, such as molecular biology, genetics, and nanotechnology. 

Research areas:

  • Discern and identify the cellular molecular sensors in the islet in healthy and diabetic models.
  • Ion channels, ligands, and mechanical signals controlling beta cell gene expression, differentiation status, secretory capacity, and diabetes.
  • Dynamic magnetic field stimulation with superparamagnetic nanoparticles for targeted receptor activation and triggering of mechano-sensing.


  • To understand the molecular pathophysiological mechanism of beta-cell dysfunction in diabetes using state-of-the-art technologies, such as super-resolution imaging.
  • To explore the new molecular sensors in beta cells and investigate how the sensors can be activated or regulated by extracellular stimuli.
  • To develop dynamic magnetic field generation in combination with usage of superparamagnetic nanoparticles as a means to regulate islet cell functions.


Our research contributes to the understanding of underlying molecular mechanism of islet cell dysfunctions in connection with abnormal extracellular environments. 

We aim to identify disease-modifying mechanisms that protect endogenous insulin release and diabetes development.

Research output

Link to a list of research output by the group in Lund University’s research portal

Team members

Link to a list of team members in Lund University’s research portal

Current major grants

  • Medicine and health grant from the Swedish Research Council (VR) 2019-2022
  • Medicine and health grant from the Swedish Research Council (VR) 2023-2026
  • Project grant from The Crafoord foundation 2021-2022
Photo of researcher.

Enming Zhang

Principal investigator
Associate professor of experimental endocrinology at Lund University

+46 76 036 44 87
+46 40 39 11 18
enming [dot] zhang [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Enming Zhang’s profile in Lund University’s research portal


EXODIAB: Excellence of Diabetes Research in Sweden 

Link to EXODIAB’s page in Lund University’s research portal

NanoLund: Center for Nanoscience

Link to the NanoLund website