The Bruin lab studies the pathogenesis of diabetes, with a focus on insulin-secreting beta cells, which are located in endocrine cell clusters within the pancreas called ‘islets’. We are particularly interested in how environmental factors impact the endocrine pancreas during fetal development and during adult periods of metabolic stress.
Our research uses a diverse range of complementary tools and approaches. Our in vivo work includes mouse models of diabetes (type 1 and type 2), transgenic and gene knockout mouse models, and islet transplantation techniques. Our in vitro approaches include differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into pancreas lineage cells (a unique tool for modeling human pancreas development), primary culture of isolated pancreatic islets, and tissue culture of immortalized cell lines.
We are currently recruiting highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students (MSc and PhD) to join the lab. Current projects include investigating the role of xenobiotic metabolism enzymes in pancreatic islets, and screening for environmental toxicants that impact adult beta cell function and survival, as well as critical windows of beta cell development.
AREAS OF RESEARCH