My laboratory is a basic biomedical research group encompassing clinical and basic postdoctoral fellows, MD, MD-PhD and PhD graduate students and undergraduates, who are all striving to understand the development, maintenance and regeneration of pancreatic islet beta cells, the cells that produce the hormone insulin that is so critically required for normal glucose homeostasis. Insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas or inadequate activity of insulin on fat, muscle and liver results in diabetes, a global epidemic disorder that causes an enormous human and economic societal burden. We believe that the molecular mechanisms that govern ß cell development, identity and survival hold an important key to the development of novel therapeutic approaches for this devastating disease. Our long-standing focus on the homeodomain transcription factor and human diabetes gene Pdx1 has positioned Pdx1 as a critical component of the transcriptional networks of endocrine progenitors and mature beta cells, resulting in fundamental observations of translational relevance to all forms of diabetes.
Doris A. Stoffers, MD, PhD