Inhibiting hypoxia and inflammation-induced damage to improve the outcomes of islet transplantation

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Medicine and Radiology
St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Prof Helen Thomas Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Michaela Waibel Personal web page

Project Details

Islet transplantation is used clinically for replacement of insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells in a subset of patients with type 1 diabetes. During isolation, culture and transport of human islets for transplantation the islets are subjected to a number of stresses that may influence their survival, engraftment and function after transplantation. Analysis of transcriptional changes occurring during islet isolation and culture has provided valuable insights into the stress response of islets initiated by pancreatic islet processing. This has revealed changes in the RNA levels of markers of stress-activated pathways including hypoxia and inflammation.

Aim: We will test methods to reduce the stress response of islets before and during transplantation, and determine if these promote islet survival in vivo. Mouse and human islets will be cultured with oxygen-releasing nanoparticles to reduce hypoxia, or with small molecule inhibitors of inflammatory pathways, then transplanted under the kidney capsule of diabetic recipient mice. The minimal mass required for reversal of diabetes will be determined. Stress response gene expression will be measured in the islets and grafts. This work has the potential to be applied to clinical islet transplantation in the future.

This project is conducted in St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, Islet Biology Unit.




Research Publications

School Research Themes


Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Group / Unit / Centre

Islet Biology Unit

Research Node

St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research

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