DFF- Research Project Grant to Professor Joshua Brickman – University of Copenhagen

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22 June 2016

DFF- Research Project Grant to Professor Joshua Brickman

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Professor Joshua Brickman has received the DFF-Research Project Grant from the Danish Council for Independent Research, Medical Sciences 2016, for his project: The transcriptional basis for pancreatic priming in a novel human ventral foregut culture system

The Danish Council for Independent Research, Medical Sciences awarded 56 DFF-Research Project Grants to researchers in Denmark to the sum of approximately DKK 135 million. The grants are awarded within the framework of the Danish Council for Independent Research’s E2015 and F2016 call, with the aim of providing researchers in Denmark the best possible conditions for producing outstanding research results at a high international level.

Professore Brickman's project abstract:

Human Embryonic Stem Cell (hESC) derived pancreatic β-cells represent a potential treatment for type I Diabetes, but hESC differentiation to functional β-cells is currently unreliable. We and others have found that ventral foregut (VFG)-like cells can be expanded from differentiating ESCs. As the embryonic VFG gives rise to the pancreas, these VFG cultures differentiate effectively into pancreatic cell types, suggesting an alternative to hESCs. In this proposal we ask how the enhanced differentiation of human VFG cells is regulated. What transcriptional and epigenetic differences specify enhanced pancreatic differentiation and how is this controlled by signalling? In mouse, Polycomb co-repressors regulate the choice of VFG to generate liver or pancreas and we ask if they can regulate VFG differentiation in vitro. Our studies will address whether inhibiting Polycomb and culture in specific cytokines can be used to enhance the production of functional β-cells.