Rohit Kulkarni, M.D., Ph.D.
Harvard Medical School
The Kulkarni laboratory investigates the signaling patwhays that promote growth and proliferation of islet cells, hormone-producing cells that are affected in type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
The Kulkarni lab is exploring the significance of growth factor signaling mechanisms in the regulation of islet biology by creating genetic models to examine the roles of insulin/IGF-1 receptors and their substrate proteins. They have used conditional knockouts to complement in vitro models using primary islets from humans/rodents to dissect cross-talk between insulin/IGF-I, glucose, and incretin (glucagon like-peptide-1) signaling pathways in islet cells. The group is using transplantation/parabiotic approaches to investigate inter-organ communication (e.g. between islets and liver/brain/adipose) to identify islet cell growth factors. They are also studying pathways utilized by lymphocytes that allow regeneration of beta cells in type 1 diabetes.
The Kulkarni lab is also working to derive induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from living human donors geared to differentiating them into mature insulin or glucagon secreting cells. They are also interested in differentiating iPS cells into mature cells that are involved in complications observed in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
These approaches allow us to generate cells that maintain the genetic makeup of the living individual that would otherwise be unavailable, with the potential for characterizing their signaling properties, testing drugs in vitro and the possibility of transplantation in suitable patients.
Rohit Kulkarni is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Margaret A. Congleton Chair and Co-Head of the Section on Islet & Regenerative Biology at Joslin Diabetes Center.
Kulkarni obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from St. John’s Medical College and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London, where he trained in the lab of Steve Bloom. Subsequently, he obtained the NIH NRSA Award and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Ron Kahn at the Joslin Diabetes Center. He has been on the Faculty of the Joslin Diabetes Center since 1999 and is currently a Senior Investigator and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Kulkarni is the recipient of the Endocrine Society’s Ernst Oppenheimer Award, the Merck Frosst Distinguished Lectureship and James H. Horner Distinguished Visiting Professorship and is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and Association of American Physicians.
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