Juan Domínguez-Bendala, Ph.D.
Research Professor of Surgery
Diabetes Research Institute
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
1450 NW 10th Ave
Miami, FL 33136
The main lines of research in the Domínguez-Bendala Lab revolve around the development of regenerative strategies for type 1 diabetes, including stem cell differentiation into insulin-producing β-cells and islet regeneration. Alongside Dr. Chris Fraker, our team discovered the key instructive role of molecular oxygen to drive β-cell differentiation (Fraker et al., Stem Cells 2007; Cechin et al, Stem Cells Transl Med 2014), and patented novel culture devices that provide enhanced oxygenation for stem cell cultures. We also developed innovative genetic fail-safe approaches (Qadir et al., Stem Cell Rep, 2019) to enhance the safety of pluripotent stem cell transplantation.
Since 2011, the teams led by Dr. Juan Domínguez-Bendala and Dr. Ricardo L. Pastori (Director, Molecular Biology Laboratory) operate as one highly collaborative unit in the field of pancreatic cell regeneration. In particular, we have focused our joint efforts on the induction of human pancreatic ductal BMP-responsive progenitor cells, which we have identified and characterized by lineage tracing (Klein et al., Diabetes, 2015; Qadir et al., Cell Rep, 2018); single-cell RNAseq and transplantation of sorted populations (Qadir et al., PNAS, 2020); and organotypic culture (human pancreatic slices) techniques (Qadir et al., Nature Comms, 2020). Our seminal contribution to the development of the latter has enabled for the first time the real-time monitoring of β-cell regeneration in an in vitro setting that resembles the native organ. Our research pipeline is expected to help us realize the full potential of single-cell transcriptomics to unveil dynamic biological processes, model human pancreatic disease, and, ultimately, enable the development of regenerative therapies for diabetes.