Susan Bonner-Weir, PhD
Senior Investigator, Joslin Diabetes Center
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Bonner-Weir is Senior Investigator, Joslin Diabetes Center and Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Rice University and received her PhD in biology from Case Western Reserve University. For over 25 years she has focused on the endocrine pancreas (the islets of Langerhans) in three areas: 1) the architecture of the islet and its implications for function; 2) the in vivo regulation of beta cell mass; and 3) the factors involved in islet growth and differentiation. Her focus now is how to make a reliable source of new cells. She has published over 150 peer reviewed papers, and numerous chapters and reviews.
Dr. Bonner-Weir has served on research grant review panels for the NIH, American Diabetes Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Danish National Research Council, and the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine and on the editorial boards of Endocrinology, American Journal of Physiology, Diabetes, Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics, Cell Transplantation, and Journal of Biological Chemistry.
With a series of rodent models, she and her colleagues have provided compelling evidence that adult pancreatic beta cell mass increases in response to a metabolic need and have shown the mechanisms of this postnatal pancreatic growth include both neogenesis and replication. Their approaches for generating new beta cells range from a regeneration animal model to in vitro differentiation from adult pancreatic cells to embryonic stem cells. She and her group believe that a better understanding of the regulation of pancreatic growth and differentiation may lead to new sources of beta cells.