Michael German, MD


The primary interest of my laboratory is the pancreatic beta-cell, the source of insulin. We focus on beta-cell development, regeneration and gene expression. Translational interests of our group are directed towards understanding where these processes break down in type 2 diabetes, and how to translate our knowledge of beta-cell genesis into novel strategies for curing diabetes (type 1 and 2). The general strategy is to identify regulators of gene expression and cell turnover in progenitors and mature beta-cells. These factors and their genes are then used as tools to understand the process of beta-cell development by studying both how they function and how they are regulated themselves, both in mouse models and in vitro. Ultimately, a cure for people with type 1 diabetes, as well as many people with type 2 diabetes, requires the replacement of the beta-cell. The genes that control beta-cell development can drive the formation of beta-cells from undifferentiated progenitor cells or stem cells, while the signals that control proliferation can be used for beta-cell expansion. We are generating methods using these genes to produce new beta-cells from human ES cells.