The VICC.ORG Investigator Directory

Mark A. Magnuson, M.D.

Louise B. McGavock Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics,
Medicine, Cell and Developmental Biology
VICC Member

Contact Information:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center
9475 MRB IV, 2213 Garland Avenue
Nashville, TN 37232-0494
Fax: 615-322-6645


Our research is focused on learning how to convert embryonic stem (ES) cells into pancreatic beta cells for use in treating diabetes. This requires the development of new tools and strategies as well as a greater understanding of events that occur during the specification and differentiation of pancreatic progenitor cells. To be able to rapidly manipulate genes in ES cells we use a method call Recombinase-mediated cassette exchange (RMCE). This strategy is both fast and efficient when compared to standard gene targeting approaches. The availability now of several cassette acceptor alleles makes it easy to introduce reporter genes (such as GFP) and to make other genetic manipulations in these genes. The resulting ES cells, and in some cases mice made from these cells, provide valuable reagents for better understanding events that are occurring during early pancreas development.

Research Description:

We are interested in developing new types of therapies for the treatment of diabetes. This requires a deep understanding of pancreatic beta cell function and development. My laboratory has a long history of developing novel and mouse models using gene targeting and recombinase-mediated cassette exchange (RMCE) strategies, and using these mice to gain important new insights and understanding of the molecular physiology of diabetes. However, better models that more closely mimic the physiology and pathophysiology of human diseases, including type 1 and type 2 diabetes, are needed. Towards this end, we have been developing several novel strategies and methods that will enable us to generate better animal models that more closely model the human.


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