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2017 RCSB PDB Video Challenge for High School Students

Molecular View of Diabetes Treatment and Management


Diabetes is a group of diseases that result in higher levels of blood sugar, which leads to severe complications such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney failure, nerve damage, and physical damage to the extremities and eyes. Diabetes is a complex disease, and the medical community has recommended several options for prevention and treatment.

Prevention of diabetes centers around a healthy and active life style. This includes physical exercise to maintain a normal body weight, and a healthy diet that excludes excess of sugars and fats. This is particularly important for people with a family history of diabetes.

Different pharmacological treatment strategies are used for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, so the major treatment strategy is to inject insulin when needed. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, results in part when cells in the body don’t respond properly to insulin. This is currently treated by making the pancreas create more insulin, or by lowering the blood sugar level directly.

2017 Challenge

In this video challenge, we would like you to focus on pharmacological treatments available for type 1 and type 2 diabetes and the common side effects of these treatments. The PDB structures and resources pertaining to each subtopic are listed in the 2017 Video Challenge Featured Structures List. Additional learning materials can be found on the Resources page. Refer to Entry Video Checklist for a quick overview of the requirements on the entry video.

Choose one from the following topics for your video:

  1. Treatment of type 1 diabetes and insulin research: Type 1 diabetes can be managed through insulin treatment that has been perfected through research since early 20th century. The earliest therapies utilized insulin from livestock, which is similar enough to human insulin that it still works when injected. Today, recombinant human insulin is most widely used. In addition, researchers are engineering new insulins with better properties to tailor treatment to the needs of patients.
  2. Treatment of type 2 diabetes: Several small hormones known as incretins (including GLP-1 and GIP) stimulate the beta cells in the pancreas to secrete insulin. These hormones are rapidly inactivated by an enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP4). To strengthen the production of insulin in type 2 diabetes patients, treatments include drugs that inhibit DPP4, or injections containing incretin analogs that can’t be inactivated by DPP4.
    Another class of drugs to treat type 2 diabetes directly reduces the amount of glucose that enters the blood stream. Glucosidase inhibitors work on a series of enzymes preventing sugars from being fully digested to a form that can be absorbed into the blood stream.
  3. Managing hypoglycemia, a common side-effects of diabetes treatments: The pharmacological treatments for both types of diabetes may cause blood glucose levels to fall to dangerously low levels. While eating or drinking something with glucose can easily treat this condition, there are times when this simple strategy can not be used. For example, if the individual is unconscious or non-responsive, a shot of glucagon may come to rescue.

A PDF flyer describing this challenge is available for download and distribution.

Who can participate?

All students enrolled in any high school in the United States are eligible to participate in the challenge. Equivalent level home-schooled students are also eligible to participate. Students new to the subject are strongly encouraged to participate. See challenge Rules, points 1-7 for more details.

Important Dates

Video Submission March 7, 2017 at 12:01 am Eastern Time (ET) - May 22, 2017 at 11:59 pm ET
Judging May 30 - June 6, 2017
Results Award winners will be announced at and on June 13, 2017.


All qualified submissions will be eligible to win one or more of the following:

Judge's Award

A panel of expert judges will review the videos. All qualified entries will be judged on the following criteria (see the detailed description of each criterion) :

  • scientific content (40%)
  • creativity (20%)
  • overall impact (20%)
  • entertainment value (10%)
  • production quality (10%)

The top three entries will be recognized on and in an upcoming RCSB PDB Newsletter.

Viewer's Choice Award

As voted by the viewers.

Entry Video Checklist

Videos should follow ALL of the following:

  • ✓Discuss one of the following topics related to the molecular view of diabetes treatments from the molecular perspective:
    • Treatment of type 1 diabetes and insulin research
    • Treatment of type 2 diabetes
    • Managing hypoglycemia, a common side-effects of diabetes treatments
  • ✓ Include a visualization/animation of at least ONE of the 3D molecular structures from the 2017 Video Challenge Featured Structures List. Additional molecules may be used, if needed (see the challenge Rules, point 9 and 10 for more details)
  • ✓ Contain at any point a segment discussing the warning signs of the disease Know the symptoms (see the challenge Rules, point 12 for more details)
  • ✓ Contain at any point a segment discussing the warning signs of the disease “Know the symptoms” (see the challenge Rules, point 12 for more details)
  • ✓ Show the PDB-101 branding slide during the end credits
  • ✓ Properly attribute materials used in the video (see the challenge Rules, points 15 for more details)
  • ✓ Must be 2 minutes or shorter (see challenge Rules, point 13 for more details)
  • ✓ Submit permission forms (see the challenge Rules, points 5 and 6 for more details)

2017 Video Challenge Featured Structures List

After you select your topic, choose at least one of the structures listed in the table below to help tell your story.

The Guide to Understanding the PDB Data is a helpful resource in understanding the protein structures better.