Thalachallour Mohanakumar, Ph.D.
Jacqueline G. & William E. Maritz Chair in Immunology & Oncology
Professor of SUrgery, Pathology, and Immunology
Director, Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics
Director, Islet Core Facility
Department of Surgery
|Mailing Address||Campus Box 8109
660 S. Euclid Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110
|Office Location||3328 CSRB|
|Office Phone:||(314) 362-8463|
|Lab Phone:||(314) 362-8837|
Islet Biology and Immunology
Category(ies) of Research:
Descriptor of Research:
Mohanakumar's laboratory is involved in the following diabetes related research: At pre-clinical level islets are isolated from animals (mouse and pig. Using islet transplantation in murine models, we have demonstrated the usefulness of natural plant derived (Oleanolic acid) and chemically synthesized compounds (LMP-420) in significantly delaying islet allograft rejection, delaying the onset of diabetes in NOD mice and improving islet function following transplantation. Our laboratory has also developed a sub cutaneous islet transplant model to determine the islet function and define the role of angiogenesis following transplantation. Using this model we have also determined the roles of growth factors (VEGF, HGF) towards islet cell engraftment and function. This is important because recent clinical trials to treat type 1 diabetes by islet cell transplantation have shown that a substantial proportion of islets are destroyed immediately following transplant and >80% of the patients lose islet function within 3 years. Due to the shortage of human donor organs available for transplantation, studies are also ongoing towards isolation of porcine islets and determine its use in transplantation along with primordia obtained from pigs which has been shown to reverse diabetes in a rat model. These studies are now extended to primate model in collaboration with Dr. Hammerman who has pioneered this approach. Another area of research is to improve methods for human islet cell isolation which can be used for clinical transplantation. The laboratory is also involved in defining the role of antibodies to self antigens in chronic allograft rejection following pancreas transplantation for type 1 diabetic patients. Islet isolation facility also provides high quality islets for research both for scientist within the University and nationwide.