Diabetes is a condition where patients lose functioning insulin-producing islet beta cells and thus with ingestion of glucose, will suffer from hyperglycemia and death if not treated. Over 450 million people are living with diabetes, including ~5% of Canadians overall and an oversized 17.3% of First Nations individuals. The Edmonton protocol of transplanting islets from donors into immunosuppressed recipients was shown to restore physiological insulin production and effectively reverse the disease. However, human islet donors are rare and islet purification is difficult, such that only ~1% of patients receive this treatment. Therefore, we are working to generate insulin-producing beta cells from readily available human pluripotent stem cells, encapsulating the cells to protect them from immune attack, and implanting the cells to cure diabetes on a large scale. My research focuses on a 4D biomaterial to protect implanted islets from rejection and regulate blood glucose through insulin production. 3D printing of islet cells encapsulated in the biomaterial with additional slow-releasing anti-inflammatory agents (such as aspirin or cannabidiol) enables complex, personalized shapes and a 4D functional material. These approaches will enable the investigation of survival and function of a stem cell-based therapy for diabetes that could allow patients to live diabetes-free.
Research Centres, Clusters, Institutes
- Sustainable Additive Manufacturing: Predicting Binder Jettability of Water‐Soluble , Biodegradable, and Recyclable Polymers (2020)
- Thiol‐Ene Addition Enables Tailored Synthesis of Poly(2‐oxazoline)‐ graft ‐ Poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) Copolymers for Binder Jetting 3D Printing (2020)
- Comparison of Linear and 4-Arm Star Poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) for Aqueous Binder Jetting Additive Manufacturing of Personalized Dosage Tablets (2019)
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 11 (27), 23938--23947
- Addressing Water Scarcity: Cationic Polyelectrolytes in Water Treatment and Purification (2018)