Jeffrey R. Millman, PhD

Jeffrey R. Millman, PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipid Research

Research Interest

Islet Biology and Immunology

Category(ies) of Research



Descriptor of Research

The major focus of the Millman laboratory is the in vitro production of insulin-producing β cells from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC), including both human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC), for use in cellular replacement therapy and drug screening. The rapid rise in the occurrence of diabetes mellitus has garnered much attention in the development of technologies to better study and treat this disease. As diabetes is caused by the destruction or dysfunction of insulin-producing pancreatic β cells, much of this focus has been directed to the generation of human β cells in vitro, for without this capability, further advancement in disease modeling, drug screening, and transplantation are precluded. Dr. Millman with colleagues developed a 6-step protocol for generating functional pancreatic β cells in vitro from both hESC and hiPSC. These cells, called stem cell-derived β cells (SC-β cells), have similar physiological function of mature, not progenitor, pancreatic β cells as assessed by numerous in vitro and in vivo assays. These cells are generated in highly-scalable suspension culture, with the cells growing as aggregates, and up to half a billion cells can be produced per batch, of which approximately a third are SC-β cells. The Millman laboratory is investigating methods to improve the generation and function of SC-β cells primarily by using biomedical engineering approaches to introduce and modulate microenvironmental cues that play an important role in β cell development and function.