Date of Completion

Spring 4-28-2021

Thesis Advisor(s)

Yi Wu

Honors Major

Molecular and Cell Biology


Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases


Diabetes mellitus is prevalent in America, affecting more than 10% of the population. The underlying cause of the disease are diverse and can be related to genes, environment and physical inactivity. This review investigates how a minute cellular organelle called primary cilium, found in pancreatic β-cells, affects the development and the function of the pancreas. Gene mutations related to primary cilia can lead to malfunctions or loss of the structure, and cause diseases collectively classified as ciliopathies. Recent studies of two types of ciliopathies, Alstrom’s Syndrome and Bardet–Biedl Syndrome, connect the primary cilium defects with insulin secretion in pancreatic β-cells. The overarching goal of this review is to pose clinical questions on how malfunctions within primary cilia development may result in the development of diabetes mellitus in individuals, and to provide insights for treatment options of ciliopathies and thus, diabetes.