Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center

Research Headlines

Featured Investigator

Brissova photo.jpg

Marcela Brissova, PhD
Research Associate Professor of Medicine
Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, & Metabolism
Director, Islet Procurement & Analysis Core
 Research Specialty: 
Dr. Brissova’s research interests include the biology of pancreatic islets with a focus on the regulation of beta cell gene expression to provide insight into processes controlling normal pancreatic beta cell function in rodent models and translating this research to human islet biology. Her research also includes the study of molecular events involved in the development of pancreatic islet vasculature and innervation and their role in regulation of pancreatic islet function. 


Calendar of Events


Attend one of our upcoming meetings or seminars! Note that this calendar includes the BIG and MetabIG series!

When and Where Event Name
12 - 1 PM
512 LH
DRTC Friday Seminar Series Patrick McDonald, PhD
9 - 10 AM
512 LH
Beta Cell Interest Group (BIG) Matthew Ishahak
12 - 1 PM
206 PRB
DRTC Friday Seminar Series Paul Titchenell, PhD

Click here to see more events for 2018-2019

(from the right): Anastasia Coldren, Greg Poffenberger, Victoria DiBacco, Radhika Aramandla, Conrad Reihsmann, Shaojun Mei, Heather Durai, and Marcela Brissova.

Dr. Marcela Brissova directs the Islet Procurement & Analysis Core of the Vanderbilt DRTC that serves to over 20 research laboratories at Vanderbilt and also other academic institutions and industry.

Since July 2016, Dr. Brissova had been leading the Human Islet Phenotyping Program (HIPP) of the NIDDK-supported Integrated Islet Distribution Program. The goal of this initiative is to provide standardized assessment of human islet phenotype in terms of viability, function, composition, in order to understand the relationship between these parameters and donor characteristics (BMI, ethnicity, gender, etc.). Since its inception, the program has processed and evaluated over 180 human islet preparations from normal adult cadaveric donors and those with type 2 diabetes. Another part of this initiative is to build a database that will become a resource for the community to advance our understanding of human islet biology and human islet function. The database will soon be released to IIDP-affiliated investigators who use human islets in their research.

In fall 2018, Dr. Brissova received two new grant awards, one from JDRF and the other one from NIH. The JDRF grant is focused on mechanisms of alpha cell dysfunction in type 1 diabetes. The multi-PI UC4 grant from NIH is a part of the Human Islet Research Network. It seeks to investigate functional endocrine, vascular, and immune cell interactions, and production of signaling molecules during early postnatal development of the human pancreas that may be causally related to the development of type 1.

Featured Article

Marcela Brissova, PhD and colleagues have recently published two papers in the Cell Reports journal on α and β cells in the pancreas

α Cell Function and Gene Expression Are Compromised in Type 1 Diabetes

Ectonucleoside Triphosphate Diphosphohydrolase-3 Antibody Targets Adult Human Pancreaticβ Cells for In Vitro and In Vivo Analysis

About the DRTC

The Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center (DRTC) 
is a NIH-sponsored Diabetes Center that facilitates the discovery, application, and translation of scientific knowledge to improve the lives of people with diabetes.
The DRTC highlights the research of its members by brief videos. Click here to watch DRTC members describing his/her research.


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