Proinflammatory macrophages are activated in SARS-CoV-2 infected human islets, as well as autopsies of COVID-19 subjects.
What makes this topic important in 2022? COVID-19 is affecting everyone’s daily life throughout the world, and recent epidemiology studies suggest an increased risk of diabetes in young adults diagnosed with COVID-19.
How did you become involved with this area of diabetes research or care? I was inspired by my postdoctoral mentor, Dr. Douglas Melton. When I joined Melton lab back in 2007, Doug focused on developing strategies to convert stem cells to pancreatic beta cells for replacement therapy for diabetic patients. After I became independent, I continued working in this field and used stem cell models to study the impact of genetic and environmental factors on diabetes progression.