Sanjay Jain, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology

Research Interest


Islet Biology / Immunology

Category(ies) of Research



Research Descriptor

Our research focuses on growth factors and signaling pathways that are essential for
homeostasis. One of the key cellular pathways of interest to us is receptor tyrosine
kinase RET signaling. RET is activated by interaction of ligands of the glial cell linederived
neurotrophic factor (GDNF) family and one of the coreceptors (Gfrα1-4).
Oncogenic forms of RET cause multiple endocrine neoplasia syndromes (MEN2), and
loss of RET results in multiple development defects including intestinal aganglionosis,
renal malformations, autonomic ganglia defects and dysfunction of spermatogonial stem
cells. The intestinal and renal involvement are detrimental for metabolism, and the
nervous system abnormalities are relevant to animal models of diabetic peripheral and
autonomic neuropathy. It was recently reported that RET signaling may be also
important in promoting pancreatic β cell survival. In aor preliminary experiments using
Ret-reporter mice we found that is highly expressed in embryonic pancreas, suggesting
that it may directly play a role in glucose regulation.
Therefore, our interests are related to diabetes and metabolism research from multiple
facets: pancreas, kidney function and peripheral neuropathy