Maria Cristina Nostro

Maria Cristina Nostro, PhD

The loss of beta cells in Type I Diabetes ultimately leads to insulin dependence and major complications that are difficult to manage by insulin injections. Recent improvements in islet transplantations for the treatment of Type I Diabetes are increasing the likelihood of finding a possible cure for this disease. However, the requirement for 2-3 donors per transplantation and the scarcity of donor pancreata has launched the search for an alternative source of beta cells for cell therapy purposes. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) offer the ability to generate these cells in vitro, with the potential to rapidly translate basic scientific discoveries to therapeutic applications.

The focus of the Nostro lab is to elucidate the signaling pathways governing the formation, expansion and maturation of pancreatic progenitors using human pluripotent stem cell directed differentiation. Through this in vitro approach we aim to understand the genetic and epigenetic program that dictates pancreatic development and beta cell maturation. Due to the very limited accessibility of the human embryo, this represents a powerful and unparalleled system to understand key human developmental processes. Furthermore, patient-specific iPSC directed differentiation will allow us to study disease development and progression in ways that were previously inconceivable.

Our long-term goal is to translate the results of our studies to the clinic and to establish in vitro culture systems for disease modeling, drug toxicity and discovery assays.
 

Related Links

Cell Stem Cell. 2012 Apr 6;10(4):371-84
Cheng X, Ying L, Lu L, Galvão AM, Mills JA, Lin HC, Kotton DN, Shen SS, Nostro MC, Choi JK, Weiss MJ, French DL, Gadue P
Biotechnol Bioeng. 2012 Apr;109(4):853-66
Ungrin MD, Clarke G, Yin T, Niebrugge S, Nostro MC, Sarangi F, Wood G, Keller G, Zandstra PW
Diabetologia. 2012 Mar;55(3):694-706
Micallef SJ, Li X, Schiesser JV, Hirst CE, Yu QC, Lim SM, Nostro MC, Elliott DA, Sarangi F, Harrison LC, Keller G, Elefanty AG, Stanley EG
Diabetologia. 2012 Feb;55(2):358-71
Basford CL, Prentice KJ, Hardy AB, Sarangi F, Micallef SJ, Li X, Guo Q, Elefanty AG, Stanley EG, Keller G, Allister EM, Nostro MC, Wheeler MB
Nat Biotechnol. 2011 Mar;29(3):267-72
Green MD, Chen A, Nostro MC, d'Souza SL, Schaniel C, Lemischka IR, Gouon-Evans V, Keller G, Snoeck HW
Development. 2011 Mar;138(5):861-71
Nostro MC, Sarangi F, Ogawa S, Holtzinger A, Corneo B, Li X, Micallef SJ, Park IH, Basford C, Wheeler MB, Daley GQ, Elefanty AG, Stanley EG, Keller G
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Apr;1792(4):353-63
Cairney CJ, Sanguinetti G, Ranghini E, Chantry AD, Nostro MC, Bhattacharyya A, Svendsen CN, Keith WN, Bellantuono I
Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2008;73:101-10
Irion S, Nostro MC, Kattman SJ, Keller GM
Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2008 Nov-Dec;41(3):270-7
Chadwick N, Fennessy C, Nostro MC, Baron M, Brady G, Buckle AM

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Harry Rosen Chair in Diabetes and Regenerative Medicine Research, McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine
Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology, University of Toronto