I investigate these pathways using mathematical modelling. Roughly, I use models to make predictions of how cells would respond to different stimuli. If the prediction agrees with reality, tested by comparing the model to experimental data, the model can be used to also predict other things. Such things could be what happens if you subject the model to new substances. Potentially, such substances could, at least partially, restore the functions in the diabetic cell to a more normal state. Using the model, testing a large amount of new substances is both easy, cheap, fast, and does not require animals to test.
Using mathematical modelling to understand biology is common the field called systems biology. Systems biology is also the field in which students studying engineering biology (TB) will do their bachelor thesis work, in which I have been supervising groups for many years. Beyond the supervision in systems biology, I also teach basic optimization at the mathematical department.