Young Investigator Committee

Mission, Objectives & Background
DELIVERABLE PROJECTS

To encourage the active engagement of trainee members and facilitate interactions between trainee and senior members to advance clinical and basic research and activities in the field of islet and pancreas transplantation.


  1. Engage with young investigators and faculty and provide opportunities for professional development..

  2. Create a forum for new research trends and technology emanating from young investigators and pitch curated ideas and concepts to the council to more swiftly meet our research agenda.

  3. Expand scientific and social programs for the IPITA biennial congresses.

  4. Scientific exchange between young and senior investigators to exchange and preserve knowledge and to foster collaborations.

The IPITA YIC was formed in 2014 to encourage the active engagement of trainee members and facilitate interactions between trainee and senior members to advance research and activities in the field of islet and whole pancreas research.

  1. Maintain a tailored program appealing to young investigators during the IPITA biennial Congress.
  2. Maintain a young investigator networking event/reception or social event at IPITA Congresses.
  3. Develop a webinar on professional development/leadership skills.
  4. Build a database of resources for grants, scholarships, courses and training opportunities for trainees in the field.
  5. Maintain and improve the IPITA social media presence.
  6. Provide mentorship to Young
  7. Investigators/Graduate students and create lasting mentor – mentee relationships (matching by research interests). Improve provision of resources for the mentee/mentor to enable and incentivize their role in enabling the next generation of researchers.7. Serve as a sounding board for young investigator IPITA members and represent their interests to the Council. Facilitate communications platforms for the Council and IPITA Members.
  8. Interaction with funding and regulatory agencies to discuss funding priorities for the development of the next generation of beta cell replacement therapies. Encourage funding agencies to feed RFAs and grant info into database (see 4).
  9. Organize virtual Journal Clubs – via social media and moderated by first authors/Young Investigators.
  10. Patient outreach and education at local institutions and during IPITA Congresses – improve knowledge and understanding, whilst ensuring realistic expectations about current and emerging therapies. Fundraising.
  11. Job postings for fellows, junior faculty, graduate students and staff via social media.

Young Investigator Committee Members

Shadab Abadpour, MSc, PhD
Dr. Shadab Abadpour has received her PhD degree from University of Oslo on Nov 2018 focusing on strategies to prevent islet damage by targeting micro-environmental stress and the implication on clinical islet transplantation. She is a member of Nordic network for clinical islet transplantation. Her current research involves biofabricating and 3D bioprinting of multicellular scaffolds for islets in order to investigate alternative extra-hepatic sites for islet transplantation. Considering the scarcity of pancreatic islets, part of her research is on generating insulin producing cells from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and ductal progenitor cells. She is also part of a multi-disciplinary project focusing on developing Organs-on-a-chip platform for studying the interactions of pancreatic islets with other tissue types involve in diabetes and energy metabolism such as hepatic, muscle tissue and adipocytes. This platform will be used for disease modeling and drug testing with special focus on diabetes. Shadab Abadpour has received IPITA Derek Gray Travel Award - 2019.
Talal M Al-Qaoud, MD FRCSC
Dr. Al-Qaoud is Transplant Surgeon and Urologist from Kuwait. He received his medical degree from the University of Manchester (UK), and then completed his Urology residency at McGill University, Montreal. He is certified by the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada, and the American Board of Urology. He obtained further training in renal transplant, genitourinary oncology and complex urinary diversions at the Mansoura Urology and Nephrology Center in Egypt, and Genitourinary Trauma/Reconstruction in Cape Town, South Africa. Following his urology training, he completed a two-year Multiorgan Abdominal Transplant Surgery Fellowship (Kidney, Liver, Pancreas) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA. Dr. Al-Qaoud was previously an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Maryland before his current appointment as an Assistant Professor of Transplant Surgery and Urology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA. He specializes in kidney, pancreas, and multi-organ transplantation, organ procurement, laparoscopic donor nephrectomy, transplant related urology and urinary tract reconstruction, and renal auto-transplantation for renovascular disease and trauma. He has special interest in transplant waitlist management of patients with adrenal and renal masses. Dr. Al-Qaoud’s research interests include pancreas transplantation outcomes, urologic complications and oncology in the renal transplant population, and outcomes following renal auto-transplantation for renovascular diseases.
Julien Branchereau
After qualifying and being trained as a surgeon, Dr. Branchereau joined the CRTI joint research unit created by INSERM and Nantes University. He is an honorary consultant surgeon at the Institute of Transplantation Urology and Nephrology (ITUN). ITUN is one of the largest French and European kidney and pancreas transplantation centres. He is an active member of the TREPID group.This group brings together most of the members of the main French and Swiss teams involved in islet or pancreas transplantation. The main purpose of this association is to develop and promote the transplantation of pancreas and islets for the treatment of diabetes. His daily clinical practice focuses on renal and pancreatic transplantation. The Nantes University Hospital Center is a referral center and offers access to the transplant for patients with increasingly complex and delicate clinical situations. He leads the national renal transplant education program at the French National College of Urology and contributes to the surgical and transplant teaching strategy at National French Multi-organ retrieval school. His goal is to pass on my passion for surgery and transplantation to future generations The growing shortage of transplants and changes in donor characteristics are leading to a growing reliance on non-optimal transplants. The optimization of these grafts is one of the current challenges of transplantation. The ex situ perfusion of these grafts has clearly demonstrated its interest. Dr. Branchereau is working on pre-clinical models of organ perfusion (kidney and pancreas). After working on the development of ex situ hypothermic pulsatile perfusion of pancreas, we want to evaluate this perfusion. He has joined the NDS (Nuffield Department of Surgical Science) team for one year at Oxford University, which has developed a worldwide expertise in the field of organ perfusion. The growing shortage of transplants and changes in donor characteristics are leading to a growing reliance on non-optimal transplants. The optimization of these grafts is one of the current challenges of transplantation. The ex situ perfusion of these grafts has clearly demonstrated its interest. I am working on pre-clinical models of organ perfusion (kidney and pancreas). After working on the development of ex situ hypothermic pulsatile perfusion of pancreas, we want to evaluate this perfusion. I joined for a year the NDS (Nuffield Department of Surgical Science) team at Oxford University which has developed a worldwide expertise in the field of organ perfusion.
Antonio Citro, PhD.
Dr. Citro is Project Leader of the Pancreas Bioengineering Unit at the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy. He earned his master’s degree in Medical Biotechnology in 2009 and his Ph.D. in Experimental surgery and Microsurgery in 2014, both at University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy. During his first research activity, he investigated the role of chemokine receptors in the islet function and engraftment both in islet transplantation and Type 1 diabetic models. Since 2014, Dr. Citro focused his research on regenerative medicine. As Postdoctoral research fellow, he was trained to the decellularization technology and organ engineering in the Dr. H. Ott laboratory of Organ Engineering at Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Boston, USA. His current research takes advantage of his background in beta cell replacement, islet immunomodulation and regenerative medicine to bioengineer ex vivo the endocrine pancreas microenvironment with a direct impact on the in vivo application in Type 1 Diabetes landscape. Since 2020, he is a committee member of the Young Investigator Committee of the International Pancreas and Islet Transplant Association.
Hussein A Khambalia, (Committee Chair)
Mr. Hussein A Khambalia is a Consultant General and Transplant surgeon and the Islet Transplant lead at The Manchester Foundation Hospitals NHS Trust and an Honorary Lecturer at The University of Manchester. He completed his transplant training in Manchester and at Guy’s Hospital, London. His sub-specialty clinical interests include beta-cell replacement, paediatric transplantation and enhanced recovery after transplantation. He completed his PhD, studying peri-operative optimisation and assessment in pancreas transplantation at The University of Manchester. His current research interests include peri-operative pancreas allograft assessment and pancreas transplant recipient optimisation and assessment. He currently Chairs the IPITA, Young Investigators Committee and is the Founder and Trustee of KCA (Kidney Care for Africa, @KidCareAfrica), a charity, which aims to train local medical personnel and provide expertise to improve access to renal replacement therapies for people in Africa.
Hirotake Komatsu, MD, PhD
Dr. Hirotake Komatsu is currently serving as an Assistant research professor in the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, LA, USA. His expertise is derived from his broad clinical experience and basic research in the fields of pancreas. He served as a surgeon for over 10 years in Japan after he obtained an MD. During the period, he also pursued a PhD in basic research of pancreatic diseases for which effective and accessible treatments have not been established. In 2014, he joined City of Hope in California, where clinical islet transplantation and translational research are actively performed. His research interests include subcutaneous site islet transplantation and bioengineering; he expects that his experience can bridge his interests in the different field to expand the application of clinical islet transplantation.
Adriana Migliorini
Adriana is focusing her research on understanding the molecular mechanism regulating human pancreas development. In particular, her project is exploring the role of immune cells during endocrine specification and its implication in the etiopathogenesis of Type 1 Diabetes. She is currently working at the McEwen Center for Regenerative Medicine, UHN, Toronto, in the laboratory of Dr. Maria Cristina Nostro where they use human pluripotent stem cells to generate in vitro functional and transplantable pancreatic beta like cells.
Hanne Scholz (Mentor/IPITA Council Liaison)
Dr. Hanne Scholz is a senior scientist in the Department of Transplantation Medicine at the Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway. She is the director of the human islet isolation facility performing clinical islet transplantation for treatment of type 1 diabetes in Norway. Her research is devoted to improve and optimize islet isolation method, transplantation and clinical outcome. Currently, her research involves regenerative medicine projects such as the development of new cellular therapies for diabetes using stem cells and creation of functional mini-pancreas for “organ on a chip” platforms. She is elected as councilor of IPITA (2017-2021) and serve as the mentor of the Young Investigator Committee.
Anja Steffen (Committee Chair)
Anja is a postdoctoral researcher working at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. She has longstanding experience and qualified expertise in the field of islet isolation as she has been working in different islet isolation and transplant centers. During the years, her interests included optimization of isolation protocols, assays for islet quality assessments and investigating islet functionality depending on factors like size, age or species. Her current projects focus on donor organ quality, islet isolation and quality control as well assurance.
Masaaki Watanabe
Masaaki is a physician-scientist currently working at Hokkaido University, Japan. He is a transplant surgeon mainly for the liver and pancreas transplantation. Following the completion of his PhD program at Hokkaido University, he studied clinical and experimental organ and cell transplantation at Karolinska University Hospital, until June 2016, as a clinical and research fellow. He has been in charge of research projects about pancreatic islet and cell transplantation during the last 10 years. His current research interests are immunogenicity of pancreatic islet or isolated hepatocyte cell, and immunologic tolerance induction after transplantation. He is excited to be a member of the IPITA Young Investigator Committee.
Past Members of Young Investigator Committee
Takayuki Anazawa, Japan
Dr. Takayuki Anazawa is an assistant professor of Division of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery and Transplantation, Department of Surgery, at the Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima, Japan. He had the privilege of working in islet core laboratory in Schulze Diabetes Institute of University of Minnesota in 2007. He worked with Prof. Bernhard Hering and Dr. Balamurugan for 2 years until the completion of his post-doctoral research under their supervision. Given the quality of the work in their laboratory, he has received multiple training in pancreas procurement, pancreas dissection, pancreas digestion, islet purification, culture and transplantation. As a direct result of his successful fellowship, he was recruited as an assistant professor at the Fukushima Medical University to work with a research team led by Prof Mitsukazu Gotoh. Then, he became the key organizer of Japanese Pancreas and Islet Transplantation Association. After his fourteen-year career as a surgeon and researcher of islet transplantation, he was recruited as an assistant professor at the Kyoto University to work with Prof Shinji Uemoto in April 2015. He is collaborating on a clinical trial to establish islet transplantation using both donors after cardiac death and donors after brain death.
Sarah Cross, United Kingdom (Past Chair)
Sarah has spent the last 13 years as a researcher working in the field of islet transplantation. My PhD investigated the biology of VEGF as a survival factor for human islets, and how different immunosuppressive drugs modulated its effect. I trained in human islet isolation during my PhD, and since graduating I have worked as a post-doctoral scientist in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences at the University of Oxford. My research concerns the improvement and optimisation of the human islet isolation procedure, in particular the collagenase digestion stage. I am deputy manager of the Oxford Human Islet Isolation Facility, and as such I am involved in every stage of the human islet isolation and transplantation process, with the benefit of having regular access to human islets for my research. As part of the Young Investigator Committee I am responsible for IPITA social media and the young investigator section of the IPITA website.
Leticia Labriola, Brazil
Leticia is currently an Assistant Professor at the Laboratory of Molecular Mecanisms of cytoprotection, Chemistry Institute, Biochemistry Department, University of São Paulo- Brazil. Her research focuses on the study of the molecular mechanisms leading to cytoprotection. In particular, she is interested in the optimization of pancreatic islet transplantation where her lab set out to study the molecular mechanisms leading to beta-cell cytoprotection induced by the hormone prolactin. She is also exploring the potential cytoprotective and immunoprotective effect of adult stem cells in co-transplantation approaches.
Raphael Meier, Switzerland
Raphael P. H. Meier, MD, PhD is a surgeon and researcher working in the field of transplantation. He completed his surgical training and thesis in Geneva, Switzerland. He is now working as a visiting assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco, USA, division of Transplant Surgery. He divides his time between clinical work and research with a focus on islet and pancreas transplantation. His current research interests are clinical islet/pancreas, kidney and liver transplantation, stem cell-based immunomodulation, new immunosuppressive agent development, alternative sites for islet transplantation, islet microencapsulation, islet xenotransplantation, and age, genetic and proteomic aspects in organ transplantation. He is the treasurer of the Swiss association for research in surgery and a committee member of the Swiss society for visceral surgery. Since 2015, he is a committee member of the Young Investigator Committee of the International Pancreas and Islet Transplant Association.
Robert Redfield, United States
Robert is an assistant professor of transplant surgery at the University of Wisconsin. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland Medical School. He completed his general surgical residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in the lab of Ali Naji, MD, PhD. He completed his abdominal transplant surgery training at the University of Wisconsin in 2015. He was recently awarded the ASTS junior faculty development award for research focusing on the role of B cells and alloantibody in transplantation. His clinical focus is on kidney and pancreas transplantation.
Christian Schuetz, United States
Christian is a physician-scientist working at Harvard University whose current research interests include the immunogenicity and derivation of pancreatic beta cells from iPS cells, modulation of autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes and immunologic tolerance. In his clinical career, he has focused extensively on general surgery, emergency medicine and surgical intensive care. Following initial work on neurogenesis in the context of neurotrauma, his focus soon evolved to the field of transplant surgery and curative type 1 diabetes research. To pursue these interests he moved to Harvard University and joined Professor James Markmann’s group, where he helped establish the clinical islet transplant program at Massachusetts General Hospital as well as conducting research in islet biology and transplant immunology. He has also worked in Professor Douglas Melton’s lab, deriving beta cells from human pluripotent cells for clinical translation.
Peter Stock (Mentor/IPITA Council Liaison)
Dr. Peter Stock is a multiorgan transplant surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco, and performs kidney, pancreas and liver transplants. He also serves as the Surgical Director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program at UCSF, as well as the Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program. His translational research explores beta cell replacement for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes, and he is currently co-Director of the UCSF Pancreatic Islet Transplant Program and was co-PI on the CIRM (California Institute of Regenerative Medicine) stem cell initiative to bring stem cell-derived beta cells to a clinical trial. He is the Principal Investigator on the NIH U01 multicenter trial studying the immune response following liver and kidney transplants in people with HIV. Dr. Stock is a member and has served in leadership positions in many professional organizations, including the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS, served as President, July 2014 to May 2015), The Transplantation Society (TTS, currently serving as councilor and Chair of the Ethics Committee), the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS, serving as Chair of both the Pancreas and Kidney Transplant Committees), the Society of University Surgeons (SUS), the International Pancreas and Islet Transplant Association (IPITA, serving as councilor and Chair of the 14th World Congress in Monterey, CA), the International Liver Transplantation Society (ILTS, Co-Chair of the 18th Annual International Congress in San Francisco, CA), the International Pediatric Transplant Association (IPTA), and the American Surgical Association (ASA). He is on the editorial board of Transplantation and an ad hoc reviewer for the American Journal of Transplantation, New England Journal of Medicine, Clinical Transplantation, Liver Transplantation, and an invited lecturer on transplantation and immunosuppressive strategies both nationally and internationally.
Nathan Zammit, Australia (Past Co-Chair)
Nathan is interested in studying how non-hematopoietic tissue interact with innate and adaptive immunity during the inflammatory processes of diabetes and islet transplantation. He currently works at the Garvan Institute, Sydney, Australia, within the laboratory of Professor Shane Grey, where they are undertaking a functional genomics approach into the study of type 1 diabetic compliations. The goal of this study is to discover novel genes that may be used to facilitate the development of genetic or pharmacological therpies to ameliorate diabetes progression or islet transplant rejection.

With the end of a great summer (for those in the northern hemisphere!) the IPITA-YIC reflects on the past-congress. Here we will summarise the highlights of the congress and present your feedback from the entrance survey. We thank everyone for attending the young investigator run events and making them interactive and enjoyable.

Click here to view the IPITA Young Investigator Committee (YIC) Bulletin from the 2017 Congress

IPITA CH@T Forum

IPITA Chat is a new email discussion forum for all investigators, clinicians and scientists with an interest in islet and/or pancreas transplantation in clinical and experimental fields. By becoming an active member of the group, knowledge will be expanded for our all benefit. Young investigators as well as senior people in the field are encouraged to participate, either by asking questions or contributing to the discussion.

We hope that IPITA Chat will develop into a lively and educational forum for all.

Social media

The aims of this group are to encourage and foster communication, and create a community for the next generation of pancreas and islet transplantation researchers.

We hope to actively engage researchers in discussions, for example critical reviews of recently published papers, a forum for protocol questions/lab based issues, a who’s who section to allow junior members of different labs to get to know each other etc.

Facebook group

Facebook page

General page with information on islet and pancreas transplantation for the general public, patients and researchers/clinicians

Twitter page Twitter #IPITAYIC

Latest updates in the field.

Mentorship programme

We hope to establish a programme for trainees that will provide advice and mentoring to help in the development of successful careers in islet and pancreas transplantation research.

Congress Activities
The YIC will collaborate with IPITA meeting organizers to arrange a young investigator networking event/reception or social event, and a specific young investigator scientific session at all future IPITA Congresses.

Funding database

Database of funding resources for young investigators in the field (COMING SOON)

YIC events

Coming Soon!

Resources

Coming Soon!

Social

Contact

Staff Directory
+1-514-874-1717, X : 216
sections@tts.org

Address

International Pancreas & Islet Transplant Association
International Headquarters
505 Boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest
Suite 1401
Montréal, QC, H2Z 1Y7
Canada