Douglas A. Melton, Ph.D.

Douglas A. Melton, Ph.D.

Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Photo of Doug Melton taken by B.D. Colen in 2017

Doug Melton's goal is to cure diabetes. His lab is working to eliminate the present practice of regular blood checks and insulin injections, replacing them with insulin-producing cell transplants, specifically pancreatic beta cells that measure glucose levels and secrete just the right amount of insulin.

The Melton lab applies developmental biology to understand and change the course of diabetes. The methods they have developed to make hundreds of millions of functional beta cells from human stem cells (ES or iPS cells) form the central theme for their research.

One approach is to study how to make all the islet endocrine cells, including alpha (glucagon-producing) and delta (somatostatin-producing) cells and produce islet-like clusters. These human stem cell-derived islet clusters are used both in vitro and in vivo for metabolic studies on islet function.

iPS cells derived from either Type 1 (juvenile) or Type 2 (adult onset) diabetics has made it possible to begin studies on the root cause(s) of diabetes. These stem cell islet clusters, derived using patient’s blood, enable studies on diabetic islet biology, and are being used to understand the cellular and genetic basis of the autoimmune attack in Type 1 diabetes.

Find out more

Learn more about Doug Melton's research on the Melton Lab website


Douglas Melton, co-director of HSCI, is the Xander University Professor at Harvard and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Illinois and then went to Cambridge University in England as a Marshall Scholar. He earned a BA in history and philosophy of science at Cambridge and remained there to earn a PhD in molecular biology at Trinity College and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology.


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