Research Associate Professor Dr. Sok-Ja Janket was invited to present at the 9th International Congress on Autoimmunity, which was held in the city of Nice, France, March 26–30, 2014. Dr. Janket presented, “How to Predict Type 1 Diabetes or Any Autoimmune Disease” to a standing room only crowd during the Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus—Diagnostics and Therapy Session.
This prestigious conference, attended by more than 2,000 practicing physicians, medical researchers, and laboratory scientists, is held annually in locations worldwide. The goal of the meeting is to explore and discuss the genetic, etiological, diagnostic, clinical, and novel therapies of various autoimmune diseases. Dr. Janket was one of the only epidemiologists to speak and her work was well received by conference attendees.
Dr. Janket presented a mathematical model for the prediction of type 1 diabetes mellitus, also referred to as T1DM. T1DM is an inflammatory autoimmune disease of the pancreas that is characterized by a lack of insulin production. The etiology of the disease is mostly unknown. Dr. Janket believes that studying the molecular biology of T1DM through animal modeling is one of the most effective ways to better understand the disease’s pathogenesis. However, comprehension of how the results from animal and in vitro studies translate in terms of human populations requires epidemiological and statistical expertise. This is why Dr. Janket’s role as an epidemiologist in this field is so significant.
“Before I went to Nice, I was a little apprehensive of the reception I might get when presenting a heuristic model to predict T1DM to the mostly physician audience,” said Dr. Janket. “But to my surprise, my presentation was received very enthusiastically.” She continued to receive positive feedback from other attendees following her presentation and was approached by an industry representative about the possibility of a collaboration.
Dr. Janket described the event as well organized, exceedingly relevant, and overall a huge success. “The organizer does a very good job of enticing some of world’s leading authorities to the conference by mixing interesting locales with high caliber science,” she said. “I have heard of new concepts and developments in diabetes, autoimmunity, and atherosclerosis directly from top scientists.”
The collaborators in Dr. Janket’s study are Drs. Jukka Meurman and Aura Heimonen from Helsinki University and Dr. Risto Kaaja from Turku University, Finland.