Basic Science Research

Basic science research in biochemistry and immunology provides the foundation that drives the development of new therapies for diabetes and other endocrine diseases.  Investigators in the Division of Developmental & Translational Diabetes and Endocrine Research and the Division of Molecular Diabetes Research work closely with clinical researchers in the Department of Clinical Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism and are conducting a number of important basic science research studies, including those described below:
  • Battling the complications of diabetes
  • Gene and cell-based therapies
  • Islet encapsulation and isolation
  • Islet imaging
  • Islet isolation and distribution
  • Islet quality assessment
  • New drug discoveries
  • Stem cell biology and development
  • Translational immunology
Researchers in the Division of Developmental & Translational Diabetes and Endocrine Research and the Division of Molecular Diabetes Research:
Ismail Al-Abdullah, Ph.D.: Islet cell isolation.
Sanjay Awasthi, M.D.: Diabetes and cancer.
Kevin Ferreri, Ph.D.: Islet cell transplantation; epigenetics; and diabetic biomarkers.
Wendong Huang, Ph.D.: Genetic and epigenetic regulation of diabetes; stem cell and drug development for diabetes.
Janice Huss, Ph.D.: Characterization of transcriptional mechanisms regulating skeletal muscle metabolic adaptations during growth and differentiation and in response to physiologic stress; an the etiologic role of orphan nuclear receptors in obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Fouad R. Kandeel, M.D., Ph.D.: Islet cell transplantation.
Hsun Teresa Ku, Ph.D.: In vitro differentiation of human and mouse embryonic stem cells towards pancreatic lineage cells; and identification, purification and characterization of embryonic and adult pancreatic stem/progenitor cells.
Chih-Pin Liu, Ph.D.: Development of methods to induce immune tolerance; identification of novel cellular and molecular targets to improve cell-based therapy for diabetes.
Yoko Mullen, M.D., Ph.D.: Extrahepatic islet transplantation; and prevention of islet loss for transplantation.
Rama Natarajan, Ph.D.: Identification of the molecular mechanisms underlying the accelerated cardiovascular and renal disease observed in diabetic patients and in obese subjects; role of epigenetics and microRNAs, and other non-coding RNAs; and inflammatory responses in islet destruction.
Defu Zeng, M.D.: Induction of mixed chimerism for reversal of autoimmunity; beta cell regeneration; and transplantation immune tolerance.