At JDRF, research is everything. And, thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are able to fund research that brings better therapies for type 1 diabetes (T1D) to people all over the world and, ultimately, a cure. That’s why some of the hardest workers on the front lines of T1D research are those living with with the disease. Here are three stories of people with T1D who are taking the future into their own hands as students and scientists.
Rohan Ahluwalia, High School Student
When Rohan was in 6th grade, he built an artificial pancreas with LEGOS. And that was just the beginning! He is now, as a high school student, interning in a lab focused on fixing some of the barriers to more effective and manageable insulin pump use. With a passion for experimentation and finding solutions to problems big and small, Rohan has worked on his own to problem-solve the day-to-day concerns of those living with T1D and is studying to become a biotechnologist.
Cassie Boone, College Student
Currently a biology and education major at University of California, Irvine, Cassie is working to become an endocrinologist and study the causes of T1D. Her dedication to T1D research comes not only from her own diagnosis at age 13, it also was inspired by her high school biology teacher. With a positive attitude and love of science, Cassie has been motivated rather than discouraged by the complexity of T1D science and is passionate about her future helping to treat others with T1D and finding a cure.
Sarah Westen, Ph.D.
Research in the field of T1D is not only about the cure. Dr. Sarah Westen, one of JDRF’s Research Fellows, is focused on pediatric psychology with an emphasis on T1D. One of her current projects is a JDRF-funded study to improve participation in clinical trials, hoping to make the trials easier for participants and ultimately better from the results. From both her personal experiences living with T1D and her clinical work, she has seen that psychological support is crucial to helping children with T1D and their families cope with and manage the unique aspects of the illness.
Rohan, Cassie and Sarah are just a few of the promising people living with and fighting against T1D. From classroom to cure, the future is in the hands of current and future scientists like these and JDRF is working to help make that possible by funding early-career researchers as they explore new ways to treat, prevent and cure T1D.