Therapeutic potential of steviol glycosides as insulinotropic medication.

KU Leuven
June 27 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

For the Laboratory of Ion Channel Research we are looking for an ambitious and highly motivated scientist, with a keen interest in cell physiology. The Laboratory of Ion Channel Research is part of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine of the Medicine Faculty at the KU Leuven. We study the structure, function and therapeutical potential of ion channels. We integrate molecular insight in ion channel function with genetic and cellular studies, to gain insight in disease mechanisms and the therapeutic potential of ion channels. Our direct goal is to translate our discoveries into biotechnological and medical applications.

The Vennekens Lab combines cutting edge biophysical techniques and translational studies to understand ion channel disorders, which are related to intracellular cell signaling and electrical behavior of cells, and to identify novel drugs to treat these disorders. Currently the lab focusses, amongst others, on the detailed understanding of glucose-induced insulin secretion from pancreatic ß-cells, which is essential to understand and develop novel treatments for Type 2 Diabetes.

Steviol glycosides are active components of Stevia extract, a well-known low-calorie sweetener. Steviol glycosides enhance taste and prevent the development of diet-induced diabetes in mice. We have previously shown that the interaction between steviol glycosides and the ion channel TRPM5 is essential for the biological effects of steviol glycosides. In the current project we aim to extend these findings to humans. The candidate will be involved in the design and execution of experiments which aim to show that steviol-glycosides are effective also in humans, with the clear objective to develop a novel type of therapy for type 2 Diabetes via modulation of the TRPM5 ion channel. The project will encompass in vitro and in vivo experiments, which will probe for functional effects of steviol glycosides in isolated cells and tissue(enhancement of insulin release, Ca2+ signalling in pancreatic ß cells,…) but also systemic effects in the living organism (glycemia, insulin resistance, taste perception,…).

More info on the project and the lab can be found here:


This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess

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