UVA Researchers Win Grant to Improve Islet Transplantations

August 18, 2015 by School of Medicine Webmaster

Researchers at the University of Virginia have been awarded a $77,000 grant from the Coulter Foundation for a project titled Enhancing Islet Transplantation. The grant will help fund the researchers’ work to develop methods to select the highest quality of islets to be transplanted. Currently, there is no mechanism for sorting islets, which means some unhealthy islets are transplanted, and the efficacy of the procedure is limited. The researchers are also working on creating encapsulation techniques for more effectively delivering the islets into the recipient patient.

This innovative research is made possible by two highly advanced 3D bioprinters, recently acquired by UVa. There are only four such 3D bioprinters in the entire United States.

Nathan Swami, PhD

Nathan Swami, PhD

UVa bioengineering professor Shayn Peirce-Cottler  Photo: Tom Cogill

Shayn Peirce-Cottler, PhD

Kenneth Brayman, MD, PhD

Kenneth Brayman, MD, PhD

The project is a collaboration among Ken Brayman, M.D., Ph.D., of the Division of Transplant Surgery; Shayn Peirce-Cottler, Ph.D., of Biomedical Engineering; and Nathan Swami, Ph.D., of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The Coulter Foundation funds cutting-edge biomedical technologies with the purpose of improving clinical practice and training serial innovators in translational research and commercialization.

Learn more about the Coulter Foundation’s partnership with the University of Virginia.

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Read a brief tutorial of how islet transplants work.