My laboratory is interested in the role of abnormal insulin secretion in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. We are currently using mouse models of diabetes to define the mechanisms of ß-cell dysfunction. Pancreatic ß-cell death is a very important mechanism contributing to reduced insulin secretion in diabetes. Using Pdx1 deficiency as the experimental model we have determined that all three forms of programmed cell death autophagy, apoptosis and programmed necrosis all contribute to the loss of beta cell mass. We are currently exploring novel approaches to interrupting these pathways. These studies have focused on the role of the BH3-only molecules Puma and Bim in mediating pancreatic ß-cell death. We have demonstrated that reducing expression of Puma and Bim reduces apoptosis of the pancreatic ß-cell in different diabetes models leading to an enhancement of insulin secretion, an increase in ß-cell mass and a lowering of blood glucose.