Jacklyn N. Hellwege, BS
Molecular Genetics and Genomics Program
BS, 2009, Appalachian State University
It is estimated that over 20 million people in the United States are diabetic, which equates to approximately 8% of the population. Type 2 (T2DM) is the most common form of diabetes, being identified by high blood glucose levels due to the body not producing enough insulin or not responding to the insulin it does produce. T2DM often begins as insulin resistance but, as more insulin is needed by the body, the pancreas gradually loses its ability to produce it. About 95% of diabetics are affected with this type. Risk factors for becoming affected by T2DM include obesity and older age, as well as a family history of the disease.
Chromosome 20 contains one of the most consistently replicated regions of linkage to T2DM in Caucasian populations. Despite this, efforts to identify T2DM genes in this area have had mixed results. My project currently involves investigating the effect of rare variants in the genomic region.
I graduated from Appalachian State University in 2009, where I completed a BS degree in Pre-Professional Biology, along with a monor in Chemistry and University Honors. During my time at ASU, I worked with Dr. Dru Henson on a large scale community trial of the immunological effects of quercetin, a dietary supplement. I also completed an Honor's Thesis under the direction of Dr. Eva Gonales, for which I used the cholorplast DNA of sea oats (Uniola paniculata) to reconstruct a phylogeographic history of the species.