Senta K. Georgia

PIBBS MENTOR

Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology
The Saban Research Institute
Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Department of Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
Keck School of Medicine
University of Southern California

Research Topics

  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Diabetes
  • Beta Cells
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cellular Reprogramming
  • Intestinal Stem Cells

Research Images

Research Overview

Three million people in America have type I diabetes, an autoimmune disease that destroys the insulin-secreting cells of the pancreas and results in an inability to regulate blood sugar levels. While insulin injections and other pharmaceuticals help patients manage their diabetes, there is no definitive cure. Currently, the only cell-based therapy for diabetes is islet transplantation, which is limited by insufficient supply of donor tissue, the requirement for long-term immunosuppression and eventual recurrence of insulin dependence.

We aim to overcome the challenges of islet transplantation by developing methods to increase beta cell numbers. We approach this challenge with a three-pronged approach to understanding the basic biology of beta cells:

1. Recapitulating embryonic development to regenerate insulin-producing cells
2. Replication of insulin-secreting cells
3. Reprogramming of adult intestinal stem cells into insulin-secreting cells