Natalia Petersen

Assistant Professor

Section for Metabolic Receptology, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research


My research interest is to search for new treatment strategies for type 1 and 2 diabetes. Using cell- and organoid-based systems, ex-vivo pancreatic islet studies and animal models, I aim to discover new pharmacological targets to improve the insulin effect and to translate the findings into human research.

My aim is to develop the new concept of pharmacological “tailoring” of the intestinal epithelium to increase the secretion of intestinal hormones for treatment of type 2 diabetes and, potentially, other metabolic diseases. Using the intestinal organoid platform for studies on enteroendocrine cells, I have shown that differentiation of intestinal endocrine cells can be enhanced by targeting early secretory progenitors (for example, using gamma-secretase inhibitors). In type 2 diabetic mice, such modulation of intestinal epithelium results in increased incretin secretion and improved glucose tolerance.

Currently, I am investigating the roles of nutrient stimuli, signals generated by gut microbiota and cell-to-cell communication in directing enteroendocrine differentiation.

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