Our research focuses on primary cilia in the regulation of pancreatic islet function.

Primary cilia are specialized cell surface organelles present on most cells of the mammalian body. We are specifically interested in primary cilia on islet cells because disruption of islet cilia function produces an imbalance of glucoregulatory hormones which leads to diabetes. We use cell-specific gene deletion and reporter models to study how cilia control islet alpha and beta cell hormone secretion, and how cilia allow cells to respond to nutrients and signals from other cells.  

  • Which ciliary signaling pathways are important for islet hormone secretion?
  • How do cilia sense glucose and other nutrients?
  • How do cells communicate using their cilia?
  • Using advanced imaging methods to study primary cilia structure

Our work is supported by:

  • The Integrated Islet Distribution Program (IIDP)
  • The Human Islet Research Network (HIRN)
  • Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DRC)
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
  • Washington University Center for Cellular Imaging (WUCCI)
  • Washington University Diabetes Research Center (WU DRC)