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Pancreatic Beta Cells

Group Leader
Hossein Baharvand, Ph.D

Chief Researcher
Ali Farrokhi
Ali Farrokhi completed his B.Sc degree in Genetics from Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz in 2003. In 2004, he became a research assistant at Royan Institute He received his M.Sc in Cell and Molecular Biology from Tehran University in 2007.. From 2007 until now, he has been the pancreatic β-cell chief researcher at Royan Institute.

Research Assistants
Keynoosh Khalooghi (M.Sc)
Azadeh Moradmand (B.Sc)
Hossein Nezari (M.Sc)

Azadeh Moradmand (M.Sc)
Mojdeh Sojoodi (M.Sc)
Yaser Tahamtani (Ph.D)

Our group is looking for a new cell sources to use as cell therapy for type1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is one of the most common metabolic disorders, particularly in childhood. T1DM is characterized by the autoimmune destruction of the insulin producing,pancreatic β-cell. For this reason, there is a compelling need for a renewable source of cells that could replace pancreatic β-cells.
There are several approaches being considered for the generation of β-cells: the first, directing the differentiation of embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, adult pancreatic cells and tissue adult stem cells to the β-cell lineage. The second is based on conversion of another terminally differentiated cell to β-cells in a process called lineage reprogramming. The third approach is to promote the replication of existing β-cells either in vivo or in vitro.
There are several reports of differentiation of cell populations into β-cells, definitive endoderm, and pancreatic progenitors, using growth factors and small molecules. However, the final step of directed differentiation to generate functional, mature β-cells in sufficient quantities has yet to be achieved in vitro.
Our group’s areas of focus include the effect of extracellular matrix on differentiation of human embryonic stem cells to insulin producing cells; manipulating signaling pathways to enhance differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells to insulin producing cells by growth factors and small molecules;,and conversion of another terminally differentiated cell to β-cells.

Islet of Langerhans cultured in vitro, red: Insulin, green: Glucagon, blue: Nuclei.

Sox 17 positive definitive endoderm cells produced from human embryonic stem cells by using small molecules as inducers.


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