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State of the Science 2022 March 10 (8-9amPST//4-5pm GMT)
State of the Science is a town hall scientific discussion on select topics in Type 1 diabetes research. State of the Science is a new way of talking about research in the field of T1D. This series will be a celebration of the power of debate and discussion that women scientists in T1D research bring to the table. The fifth discussion in the series is titled: Interdisciplinary Approaches: Placenta as an immune privileged space- are there implications for islet implantation and more?

Mar 10, 2022 08:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Carmella Evans-Molina MD PhD
J.O. Ritchey Professor of Medicine/Director IDRC @Indiana University @Indiana University Diabetes Research Center
Dr Evans-Molina is the J.O. Ritchey Professor of Medicine. She serves as Director of the Indiana Diabetes Research Center (IDRC) and as Director of the IDRC Islet and Physiology Core. She directs the Diabetes Research Program in the Herman B. Wells Center for Pediatric Research and is a staff physician at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center. She serves as an Associate Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program at IU. Dr. Evans-Molina is an investigator in the Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet Network, where she serves as a Scientific Advisor and as Chair of the Long-Term Investigative Follow-Up (LIFT) Study. She is also a member of the Rare and Atypical Diabetes (RADIANT) Network. Dr. Evans-Molina is a Co-Executive Director nPOD and is a Co-PI of the NIH-funded Integrated Islet Distribution Program (IIDP)
Jessica Weaver PhD
Recipient of the NIH High Risk New Innovator Award 2021 @Arizona State University
Dr. Jessica Weaver received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Miami. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she was supported by the NIH ILET2 training grant and a JDRF Postdoctoral Fellowship. As an Assistant Professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University, Dr. Weaver’s research centers on developing translatable cell-based therapies for the treatment of disease, with a focus on islet transplantation for the treatment of Type 1 Diabetes. The Weaver lab uses biomaterials and immunoengineering approaches with the aim to generate immunosuppression-free transplantation strategies. The Weaver lab is currently supported by the JDRF New Innovator Award and Arizona Biomedical Research Commission New Investigator Award.
Qizhi Tang PhD
Professor, Surgery @UCSF
The Tang lab focuses on translating knowledge on mechanisms of immune tolerance into novel therapeutics for treating autoimmune diabetes and preventing transplant rejection. Currently, two major areas of work are on therapeutic application of regulatory T cell therapy in type 1 diabetes and transplantation and immune modulation to enable immune suppression-free transplant of stem-cell-derived beta cells for treatment of type 1 diabetes. Regulatory T cells are a small population of white blood cells that are essential for preventing tissue damages caused by over activation of the immune system. The Tang lab has shown that infusion of regulatory T cells in animal models can reverse type 1 diabetes, a disease caused by immune destruction of insulin-producing cells in the pancreatic islets. Similarly, regulatory T cell therapy can prevent rejection of transplanted organs in animal models. A joint team of researchers from the Tang / Bluestone labs is currently conducting 6 clinical trials.
Allison Bayer PhD
Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Diabetes Research Institute @Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) UMiami Miller
As reported in the Journal of Immunology, her team established an important function for IL-7R for the development of natural T regulatory cells. This will be an important line of future investigation, as polymorphism in the IL-7Ra gene that likely leads to reduced IL-7R signaling, is an autoimmune susceptibility gene for both multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. Dr. Bayer’s research focuses on understanding the basic immunobiology of regulatory T cells and applying that knowledge for future clinical translational applications. She hopes that her work will lead to the design of novel therapies for a non-toxic approach to tolerance induction with the ultimate goal of achieving both self-tolerance and transplantation tolerance for the treatment of type 1 diabetes patients.