Dr Melkam Kebede
D17 - Charles Perkins Centre
The University of Sydney
|Curriculum vitae||Curriculum vitae|
Melkam Kebede was awarded her Ph.D. in 2007 from the University of Melbourne. For her Ph.D. thesis Melkam studied the metabolic consequences of pancreatic beta-cell specific overexpression of one of the gluconeogenic enzymes, fructose- 1,6-bisphosphatase, using a transgenic mouse model, under the mentorship of Professor Joseph Proietto and A/Prof Sof Andrikopoulos.
Upon completion of her PhD, Melkam moved to Montreal, Canada for her first post-doctoral fellowship where she worked to characterize and understand the regulation and role of the G protein coupled receptor, GPR40 - under the mentorship of Professor Vincent Poitout. In Montreal, Melkam was supported by a post-doctoral fellowship from the Canadian Diabetes Association.
In 2012 Melkam joined Professor Alan Attie’s laboratory at the University of Wisconsin – Madison for her second post-doctoral fellowship. In the Attie laboratory she studied the involvement of VPS10 family of proteins, specifically Sorcs1, in the formation and stability of insulin containing secretory granules in pancreatic beta-cells. Her research involved cell biology studies of vesicle trafficking using biochemical and fluorescence microscopy studies. Her research at the University of Wisconsin was supported by the American Diabetes Association mentor based post-doctoral fellowship.
In 2015, Melkam moved to Sydney to set up an Islet Biology laboratory in the Biology Domain of the Charles Perkins Center, University of Sydney.
Obesity is one of the major risk factors for the development of Type 2 diabetes. It is well established that obesity causes insulin resistance; an inability of insulin to elicit its normal physiological response. In the early stages of insulin resistance, the pancreatic beta-cells produce and secrete more insulin in order to compensate for the insulin resistance.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreatic beta-cells are not able to produce enough insulin to meet the increased demand for insulin brought about by insulin resistance. Using forward genetics and genome wide association studies several type-2-diaebtes associated genes are identified. The majority of these genes affect beta-cell function.
Melkam’s research interest focuses on understanding the role of these type-2-diabetes associated genes in pancreatic beta-cell function and using a combination of cell and mouse models.
Teaching and supervision
Melkam was involved in the planning, organization and teaching of a new advanced Biochemistry course for graduate school students, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA.
Melkam has mentored several undergraduates and PhD students during her postdoctoral fellowships both in Canada and United States.
Australian Diabetes Association.
Awards and honours
2014: Boyer Award for Postdoctoral Excellence.
2012-2015: American Diabetes Association Mentor Based Post-doctoral Fellowship.
2009-2011: Canadian Diabetes Association Post-doctoral Fellowship.
In the media
- A multidisciplinary, regenerative medicine approach to cure type 1 diabetes; Thorn P, Kebede M, Bilek M, Weiss A; DVC Research/Sydney Research Excellence Initiative 2020 (SREI).
- Growing better beta cells; Thorn P, Kebede M, Weiss A, Bilek M, Porrello D, Hudson J; Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (Australia)/Australian Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Network: Innovation Award.
- Investigating the interplay between Sorcs1 and Sortilin in the regulation of insulin degrdation in pancreatic beta-cells; Kebede M; Diabetes Australia/Research Grant.
- Enhancing insulin secretion from stem cells; Thorn P, Hudson D, Porrello D, Kebede M; Diabetes Australia/Research Grant.
- Understanding the Role of a Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) in the pro-domain of Sorcs1 on Pancreatic Beta-cells Insulin Content; Kebede M; Diabetes Australia/Diabetes Research Grant Program.