Type 2 diabetes (T2D) currently affects ~10% of the UK adult population and is one of the foremost health challenges currently facing society. This syndrome can be described as a failure of the pancreatic beta cell mass to secrete sufficient insulin to counteract elevated blood glucose levels. It is largely believed that all beta cells are the same. However, recent studies have shown that beta cells in fact comprise discrete subpopulations, some of which may contribute to insulin secretion and T2D more than others. This presentation will highlight the methodology that has allowed us to redefine how beta cells- and more generally endocrine cells- function. The influence of subtle differences in the beta cell barcode on insulin release in health and disease will then be examined. Finally, new techniques, which may provide unprecedented insight into T2D and drug development, will be discussed.