Research in the laboratory is focused on the developmental biology of the pancreas in order to understand the guiding principles of pancreatic insulin-producing cells. These cells are either lost or damaged in Diabetes, and replacement of the insulin producing cell mass would constitute a possible cure of the disease. The laboratory is part of the Chicago Project (www.thechicagoproject.org), focused on developing therapies for type I Diabetes. The laboratory combines mouse genetics and bioinformatics to address the function of signaling factors in pancreatic development. This provides us with a rich information base that is applied to pluripotent stem cells in order to induce pancreatic insulin producing cells. Having successfully developed protocol improvements in generating functional insulin producing cells, the laboratory is also engaged in developing a functional cell therapy for type I diabetes through a partnership with a medical device company, Beta02 technologies. Using a proprietary oxygen-providing macroencapsulation medical device, we are able to provide long-term viability of induced pancreatic insulin producing cells. This work is highly translational, and demands concomitant developments in cellular differentiation, cell scale up, cell purification and animal testing, all combined to create an efficacious cell therapy in an autoimmune type I diabetic patient, with no requirement for immunosuppression.
Michael Bukys Ph.D.
Katie Elizabeth Sears B.A.
Notch-mediated patterning and cell fate allocation of pancreatic progenitor cells. Afelik S, Qu X, Hasrouni E, Bukys MA, Deering T, Nieuwoudt S, Rogers W, Macdonald RJ, Jensen J.Development. 2012 May;139(10):1744-53. Epub 2012 Mar 29
Notch signaling in pancreas: Patterning and Cell Fate Specification, Solomon Afelik and Jan Jensen. WIRES Developmental Biology, accepted for publication, Oct 16th 2012.
Exocrine ontogenies: on the development of pancreatic acinar, ductal and centroacinar cells. Cleveland MH, Sawyer JM, Afelik S, Jensen J, Leach SD. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2012 Aug;23(6):711-9.
Notch-mediated post-translational control of Ngn3 protein stability regulates pancreatic patterning and cell fate commitment. Qu X, Afelik S, Jensen JN, Bukya MA, Kobberup S, Schmerr M, Xiao F, Nyeng P, Veronica Albertoni M, Grapin-Botton A, Jensen J. Dev Biol. 2013 Apr 1;376(1):1-12.