Matthew J. Merrins, PhD

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Medicine
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PubMed Publications

BA 2001 Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH
PhD 2008 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Postdoc 2014 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI



Research Focus

My lab is focused on understanding oscillatory metabolic signaling in the pancreatic islet and its deficiency in type 2 diabetes.  My lab specializes in single-cell approaches – principally live-cell imaging and electrophysiology – and since the lab’s inception we have developed a number of exciting tools which have given us new insights into diabetes pathophysiology.  One example is fluorescence lifetime imaging of NADH (FLIM-N), which allows us to distinguish metabolic activity in each subcellular compartment of the pancreatic beta cell, including the mitochondria.  Using FLIM-N and FRET imaging, we hope to understand the bidirectional communication between mitochondrial metabolism and the cell cycle machinery, mediated by cyclin dependent kinases. We are also focused on characterizing a number of mitochondrial proteins initially identified by RNA-seq as type 2 diabetes-associated loci; in this case, we are using Phy-PIF optogenetics to elucidate the mechanisms by which these proteins alter mitochondrial dynamics, metabolic oscillations, and insulin secretion.

Program Activities

  • Joined ERP Program: 2015

Research Funding

  • PI NIH K01 DK099431 04/01/2014-3/31/2017 Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 2 (CDK2) Function in Pancreatic Beta Cells


Current Trainees Degree Goal
No current ERP students
Past Trainees Degree Completed