Lian receives ENGINE grant for stem-cell-based diabetes therapy

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Xiaojun “Lance” Lian, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, was one of three recipients of the College of Engineering’s ENGineering for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (ENGINE) grant for “Small Molecule-Based Definitive Endoderm Kit and Pancreatic Progenitor Kit for Stem Cell Research and Therapy.” The project focuses on differentiating stem cells into pancreatic beta cells to be used for therapies to treat Type 1 diabetes.

The pancreas produces enzymes that help digest food as well as hormones that play an important role in maintaining sugar and salt balance in our bodies. One of those hormones, insulin, is necessary to regulate blood sugar. Beta cells, a type of cell found in the pancreas, synthesize and secrete insulin. Type 1 diabetes disrupts this process.

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