Guoqiang Gu, Ph.D.
Beta Cell Development, Function, and Survival
We investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying islet cell differentiation and function, which include multiple endocrine cell typesy. Our basic strategy is to first unambiguously identify progenitors of each specific cell type, then examine the molecular networks and cellular interactions for their development and function. Our studies focus on the following areas: 1) Technology development, which allow us to identify pure progenitor cells that give rise to specific functional cells; 2) Exploration of novel mode of cell-cell communicationthat utilize small molecules and GAP junctions for coordinated cellular differentiation; 3) Mechanisms underlying differentiation, survival, and function of beta cells. We utilizes both mouse and chicken embryos as models.