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Encapsulation of fish islets for potential type 1 diabetes treatment

Project Advisors
Professor Minglin Ma -
Professor Michael Timmons -

Project Area/Concentration
fish, diabetes, encapsulation

Project Description
In type 1 diabetes, insulin-producing pancreatic beta-cells are destroyed or impaired. Our lab has been developing encapsulation devices that can allow for donor or stem cell-derived beta cells to be successfully implanted in recipients without immunosuppression, freeing them of diabetes and its related complications. This project will involve investigation of the use of new and inexpensive sources of beta-cells in encapsulation devices. One of the options under study is tilapia islets. In research, tilapia are relatively more sustainable alternative tissue source when compared to traditional animals, given that they are much more inexpensive to obtain and raise, reach maturity more quickly, and have much larger numbers of offspring. Islet cell procurement from tilapia is simpler than from rodents or pigs, and the cells themselves are resistant to hypoxia. It is also thought that tilapia islets do not trigger as strong immune system attack during transplantation as other foreign cells such as porcine islets. Tilapia as an islet source could therefore resolve a multitude of current islet transplant issues.

Professor Michael Timmons holding 2 fish.

Possible Courses

Course number Course title
BEE 3400 Design and Analysis of Biomaterials
BEE 3500 Heat and Mass Transfer in Biological Engineering
BEE 6400 Advanced Topics in Biomaterials
BME 2210 Biomaterials: Foundations and Application in Medicine
CHEME 6400 Polymeric Materials
CHEME 7130 Chemical Kinetics and Transport
MSE 4610 Biomedical Materials and Their Applications
MSE 6010 Chemistry of Materials