Education Committee

The mission of the IPITA Education Committee is to increase access of educational material pertinent to all forms of beta cell replacement to the general public and to providers, operators and researchers in the field of diabetes mellitus to increase awareness of the field and train the next generation of beta cell replacement operators and providers. The term beta cell replacement encompasses the fields of whole pancreas transplantation, islet transplantation and of regenerative medicine-based technologies aiming at identifying new and potentially inexhaustible sources of transplantable islets and methods to improve cell survival and reduce or eliminate the need for chronic immunosuppression.

Welcome Video

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Alice A. Tomei, PhD
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Surgery and Immunology, University of Miami

Dr. Tomei holds a MS in Materials Engineering from the Politecnico of Milan (Italy) and a PhD from the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland). In her current position as the director of the Islet Immunoengineering Laboratory at the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), she is applying her unique background in bioengineering and immunology to develop novel immunoengineering platforms to prevent rejection after islet transplantation and to promote antigen-specific tolerance for a cure of type-1 diabetes.

Sandrine Lablanche, MD, PhD
Department of Diabetology - Grenoble Alpes University Hospital - France

Dr. Lablanche is developing clinical research on technologic devices and/or innovative therapy for the treatments of patients suffering from type 1 diabetes and particularly from severe form of type 1 diabetes (Brittle diabetes). Member of the GRAGIL Network, she is involved in clinical islet transplantation trials in France.

Silke V. Niederhaus, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Dr. Niederhaus is a Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where she took her first transplant surgery position in 2012 with an interest in kidney and pancreas transplantation. Since then, Dr. Niederhaus has served on the UNOS Pancreas Transplant Committee, where she is currently the committee chair. Dr. Niederhaus grew up in Germany, where at age 11 she underwent her first kidney transplant. Her experience with patient education was outstanding then, and she hopes to bring her experiences to this group. Leaving Germany after high school (Gymnasium), Dr. Niederhaus obtained her undergraduate degree in Biology, then trained at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, and completed residency, a two-year research fellowship, and a two-year transplant surgery fellowship all at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Giuseppe Orlando, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Surgery, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, USA.

Giuseppe Orlando is a kidney and pancreas transplant surgeon scientist and an associate professor of surgery at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, in Winston Salem, USA. His research aims at developing platforms for the bioengineering and regeneration of transplantable organs, and at developing therapies to enhance the innate ability of the human body to repair itself after damage. He conducts his research at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. His scholar activity aims at bridging organ transplantation to regenerative medicine.

Kim Solez, MD
Professor of Pathology, University of Alberta

Kim Solez, M.D. has been an international leader in pathology for over three decades. He is Professor of Pathology at the University of Alberta and the creator of the Banff Classification of Transplant Pathology and the The Technology and Future of Medicine Course, and has over 1,400 videos on YouTube. He created the new medical discipline of tissue engineering pathology, and has recently published the first digital pathology white paper in transplant pathology.

Steven Paraskevas, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Surgery at McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Dr. Paraskevas is Associate Professor of Surgery at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and multi-organ transplant surgeon, scientist and Director of the Pancreas and Islet Transplant Program at McGill University Health Centre. Dr. Paraskevas received his education at Harvard University (A.B.) and McGill (M.D., Ph.D.) and his surgical training at McGill (General) and the University of Minnesota (Transplantation). His research involves the study of cell injury, ER stress and extracellular vesicle mediated signaling and their relationship with allo and autoimmune responses in transplantation and T1DM. His collaborative work involves 3D printed macroencapsulation strategies for stem-cell derived beta-cells as part of a pan-Canadian team.

Maria Cristina Nostro, PhD
Associate Professor, University of Toronto.

Dr. Nostro is a Senior Scientist at the McEwen Stem Cell Institute and an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. She holds the Harry Rosen Chair in Diabetes Regenerative Medicine Research and she is a member of the Soham and Shaila Ajmera Family Transplant Centre at the Toronto General Hospital. Her research is focused on generating functional β cells from human pluripotent stem cells. Her group has defined critical pathways leading to the efficient generation of stem cell-derived pancreatic progenitors in vitro and recently, through the use of a proteomics approach, identified a specific marker that allows the purification of these β cell progenitors. The Nostro lab is striving to improve the differentiation protocols to generate β-like cell in vitro and develop novel transplantation approaches for type 1 diabetes therapy.

Jonathan Fridell, MD
Chief of Abdominal Transplant Surgery, Indiana University

Jonathan Fridell, MD is the Chief of Abdominal Transplant Surgery at Indiana University (IU). He has actively participated in all aspects of the abdominal transplant program including adult and pediatric liver, kidney, intestine, multivisceral and pancreas transplantation. His research is mostly focused on outcomes following pancreas transplantation and he has authored over 125 manuscripts and book chapters and is currently the Deputy Editor for Pancreas and Islet Transplantation for the journal Clinical Transplantation and an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Transplantation. Dr. Fridell also has a long history of participation with the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network and the United Network for Organ Sharing (OPTN/UNOS) including a double term as the Chair of the Pancreas Transplant Committee. During his tenure, he lead the committee through several important projects including the Donor Lipase project, the Definition of Pancreas Allograft Failure project, Facilitated Pancreas Placement project, the ABO compatible nonidentical project and the Functional Inactivity project. He was also involved in the early process of drafting policies for requirements for Islet transplant programs.

Leticia Labriola, PhD.
Associate Professor, Chemistry Institute, Biochemistry Department, University of São Paulo- Brazil

Dr. Labriola has worked as a researcher at University of São Paulo since 2002 and also as a biochemistry professor, mainly lecturing for medicine school students for the past 9 years. My research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms leading to increase the viability of beta-cells for improving the success of islet transplants. This role affords me the opportunity to engage with graduate students, surgeons and endocrinologist through the pancreas and islets transplant process, in constructing bridges between the basic and the clinical ambience. I am a member of the IPITA since 2005 and since then, have attended almost all the meetings. Since 2014, the IPITA council board gave me the opportunity of being a member of their Young Investigator Committee where I have participated with an outstanding and very enthusiastic team on organizing several activities at Melbourne, Oxford and Lyon meetings aiming at increasing the interaction between young and senior IPITA members. On 2018, I have joined the IPITA Educational Committee.

Amish Asthana, PhD
Instructor of Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, USA

Dr. Asthana is an Instructor in the Department of General Surgery at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. His background uniquely combines multidisciplinary training in cell biology, biomaterials, microfabrication and 3D microphysiological platform development for regenerative medicine as well as drug screening and toxicological applications. His current research is focused on pancreatic and kidney tissue engineering, specifically using decellularized human extracellular matrix (dECM) for the development of an organ-specific physiomimetic cellular niche in microphysiological systems (MPS; or organ-on-a chip), 3D bioprinted- and bioreactor-based platforms.

Angelika C. Gruessner, PhD
SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY

Dr. Angelika Gruessner received a MS in Medical Information Science and a PhD in Theoretical Medicine both from the Ruprecht-Karl-Universität, Heidelberg in Germany. In addition, she went through a fellowship in Biostatistics at Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz, Germany. She works currently as a Professor in the Department of Medicine/Nephrology. The focal points of her work for over 30 years are the design, data collection, analysis and presentation of medical experiments, clinical studies, and randomized clinical trials in the field of diabetes research. For over 30 years she leads the International Pancreas Transplant Registry.

Barbara Ludwig
Professor for Islet Transplantation and Senior Physician, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany

Barbara Ludwig, MD PhD, is a professor at the University of Dresden, Germany. Her group is working on improvement of islet isolation and transplantation protocols in clinical practice and the development of novel therapeutic options in the field of beta cell replacement with a clear translational “bench to bedside” approach by linking experimental research with preclinical and clinical work.



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