Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What Nicholas Zavazava loves most about immunology is its direct application to human health.

Since 2004, Zavazava, professor of internal medicine, has been very active as a faculty member in The University of Iowa’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Immunology. Zavazava and the graduate students in his lab are looking for a way to help people with the insulin-deficient disease diabetes.

Since donor pancreatic organs are limited, Zavazava’s lab is attempting to generate insulin producing cells from embryonic stem (ES) cells in order to increase the number of diabetic patients who can be treated. In research studies involving diabetic mice, these new cells behave like pancreatic cells that produce insulin, thus correcting high sugar levels. “The diabetic mice transplanted with these cells corrected their high sugar levels to near normal, underlining the potential of the ES derived insulin producing cells to cure diabetes,” said Zavazava, who was born and raised in Zimbabwe.

Learn more about the possible benefits of stem cell research from the National Institutes of Health website: