Wang Lab Members

Erica GreenErica Green, Ph.D.

Research Specialist II

Project: Cellular Reprogramming: from Human PBMC to iPSC to treat Diabetes

34.2 million people in the United States have diabetes, with 7.3 million people being undiagnosed!  It accounts for more that 300 billion dollars of medical cost. It is clear that diabetes has increasingly become a worldwide health problem, causing a huge burden on the healthcare system and economy. The recent progress in regenerative medicine, especially stem cell therapy, has suggested several novel and potential cures for diabetes, such as the use of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells which have the ability to exhibit the morphology, growth, marker expression, and pluripotency of embryonic cells. For this project we have chosen human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells to reprogram. The goal of this project is for iPSC to differentiate into Pancreatic β-Cells and investigate the potential mechanism of diabetes in cells and our mouse model.


Hua WeiHua Wei, Ph.D.

Staff Scientist 1

Project: Molecular Basis of Human β-cell Development and Maturation

The generation of insulin-producing pancreatic β-cells and islet organoids from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) promises to provide cell sources for diabetes cell replacement therapy. Human PSCs can be induced into glucose-responsive insulin-secreting cells in vitro and transplantation of these cells ameliorates hyperglycemia in diabetic mice. However, the glucose-stimulated insulin-secreting capacity of most cells is still low compared with endogenous islets, therefore suggesting the need to improve induction procedures and cell maturation. The investigation of β-cells formation contributes to the improvement of their proper growth and functioning. My projects focus on the molecular basis of β-cell development and maturation by generating fibroblast or peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC)-derived human induced PSCs (hiPSCs) with a reporter protein and differentiation of hiPSCs into pancreatic β-cells. We are currently trying to identify the role of metabolism shift and the relative molecules in the earliest stage of differentiation.  


Wenyu GouWenyu Gou, Ph.D.

Staff Scientist II

Project: Islet transplantation and islet cell biology.

Islet transplantation is an ideal treatment to cure diabetes and total pancreatectomy with auto-islet transplantation patients. Most islet cells die immediately post transplantation due to hypoxia and innate inflammatory responses. By preventing the islet cell death after transplantation, the patient will have more chance to get insulin-free. Even though taking exogenous insulin can help to control the blood glucose level, the metabolic disorder still can’t improve. My current research is studying the mechanism of clinical therapies and islet cell biology.


Rebecca ChowRebecca Chow, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

People with diabetes are at risk for multiple health complications, including chronic pancreatitis (CP). Currently, there is no cure for this disease. It is necessary to gain a better understanding of disease mechanisms in order to develop effective therapies. We found that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) infusion or human alpha-1 antitrypsin (hAAT) treatment reduced pancreas inflammation and disease progression in CP mouse models. My projects therefore focus on the pathogenesis of CP, and also look at the potential use of MSCs and/or hAAT as an effective treatment for CP in human. 

Lindsay Swaby

Lindsay Swaby

Research Specialist I

I assist with multiple research projects on therapies for type 1 diabetes and chronic pancreatitis. My experience includes cell culture, mouse work, and molecular biology techniques. I am also involved in managing our lab and processing samples for our clinical trials. Before joining the lab, I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from Stetson University.