Diabetes results from loss or dysfunction of insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. Despite insulin injection treatment, diabetic patients suffer from long-term complications, such as blindness and kidney failure. Therefore, a central goal of diabetes research is to generate large numbers of functional beta cells for transplantation into diabetic patients. The successful generation of beta cells in vitro will require a thorough understanding of the molecular networks that direct the normal development of these cells.
The objective of our research is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that control beta cell maturation and function in the embryonic and adult pancreas. Our research employs genetic engineering in mice as well as biochemical methods.