HIRN Network

November/December 2022 NEWSLETTER


HIRN New Investigator, Alok Joglekar

receives NIH Directors Innovation Award.

Alok Joglekar completed his Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles under the guidance of Dr. Donald B. Kohn, where he focused on gene therapy using site-specific nucleases. Upon graduating, Alok completed his postdoctoral research at California Institute of Technology in Dr. David Baltimore's lab, focusing initially on the role of T cells in natural control of HIV infection, cell engineering using chimeric receptors, and created a cell-based T cell epitope discovery method. In 2019, Alok started his lab at the Center for Systems Immunology and the Department of Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh, where he focuses on understanding T cell mediated immune responses using systems approaches and cellular engineering.

In this NIH Director’s New Innovator Award project, the Joglekar lab aims to engineer the immune system to modulate T cell responses, which are an essential arm of the adaptive immune system, protecting against pathogens and tumors, while tolerating self-tissues. T cells use their surface T cell receptor (TCR) to recognize peptide epitopes on Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) molecules (pMHC). The project will use a novel engineering platform developed by the Joglekar group: Signaling and Antigen-presenting Bifunctional Receptors (SABRs). SABRs consist of extracellular full-length MHC complexes with genetically (and hence covalently) linked epitopes, fused with intracellular signaling domains. Engineering immune cells with SABRs will allow them to read interactions with TCRs and react to them, thereby modulating antigen-specific T cells. The Joglekar lab aims to wield SABRs to impart novel functional capabilities to immune and non-immune cells, opening a new frontier of immune engineering and synthetic immunology. These studies will create cellular therapeutic modalities, immune monitoring and perturbation tools, experimental model systems, and uncover new immune phenomena. These studies will have profound implications on study and treatment of a wide range of diseases – autoimmune disorders, infectious diseases, cancers, and organ transplantations.


Please join us in congratulating the following new research teams in joining the HPAC consortium.

Integrative Analysis of Multi-omic Signatures and Cellular Function in Human Pancreas Across Developmental Timeline at

Single-cell Spatial Resolution

Investigators: Marcela Brissova, Joana Almaca, Alejandro Caicedo, Jie Liu, Stephen Parker & Al Powers

Using ex vivo, in vivo Models and Patient Mutations to Interrogate Pancreatic Exocrine-Endocrine

Cross Talk

Investigators: Rohit Kulkarni, Saumya Das, and Juan Dominguez-Bendala

The Role of Senescent Beta Cells

in Type 1 & 2 Diabetes

Investigators: Klaus Kaestner, Dana Avrahami-Tzfati and

Benjamin Glaser

Linking Human Islet Structural Heterogeneity to Beta Cell State

Investigators: Julie Sneddon and Zev Jordan Garner

Survival and Potential of Insulin-deficient

Beta Cells in Type 1 Diabetes

Investigators: Des Schatz, Martha Campbell-Thompson,

Clive Wasserfall, Yuval Dor


The International Institute for the Advancement of Medicine (IIAM) provides non-Transplantable organs to the medical research community. IIAM works with the 57 Organ Procurement Organizations in the U.S. to source human organs authorized for medical studies, therapeutic applications and pre-clinical investigations.  As a nonprofit with more than 35 years of experience, IIAM is a trusted partner to research institutions worldwide. IIAM is a wholly-owned division of MTF Biologics, a global non-profit organization based in Edison, NJ. For more information click HERE.


The Sugar Source is a monthly newsletter providing recent updates in T1D research from The Sugar Science. The most recent edition includes select papers, preprints, and business updates related to T1D from October.


dkNET is an information hub for the DK community, providing regular updates, webinars and new tools and services to support your research, including funding opportunities available, and to help researchers navigate and comply with new regulations and mandates on resource authentication and data sharing. dkNET will be hosting the Webinar:"Attie Lab Diabetes Database." Presented by: Alan D. Attie, PhD, Jack Gorski Professor of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mark P. Keller, PhD, Distinguished Scientist, University of Wisconsin-Madison. This webinar will be held on Friday, December 9, 2022 from 11:00 am - 12:00 pm PST. Click HERE for more information. 


The Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases (DEM) at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) will hold a pre-application webinar for those interested in learning more about RFA-DK-22-018 Human Islet Research Network (HIRN) Pancreas Knowledgebase Program (PanKbase) (U24 - Clinical Trial Not Allowed).

Pre-Application Webinar Details

Date: December 6, 2022

Time: 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time

To register for this Webinar, click HERE.

For frequently asked questions click HERE

Please note that pre-registration is required to attend the webinar. The webinar link will be sent to registered attendees.

RFA-DK-22-018Human Islet Research Network (HIRN) Pancreas Knowledgebase Program (PanKbase) (U24 - Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

  • Application due date: March 31, 2023 
  • Foreign applications are not eligible


RFA-DK-22-022: Integrated Physiology of Exocrine and Endocrine Pancreas in Type 1 Diabetes (R01 - Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

  • Application due date:  February 22, 2023 
  • Foreign applications are not eligible

RFA-DK-21-030: New Investigator Gateway Awards for Collaborative T1D Research (R03 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

  • Application due date:  March 20, 2023 
  • Foreign applications are not eligible

RFA-DK-22-017: NIDDK Information Network Coordinating Unit: dkNET-CU (U24 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

  • Application due date:  March 31, 2023 
  • Foreign applications are not eligible

PAR-20-140: Catalytic Tool and Technology Development in Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases (R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

  • Application due date:  Standard dates apply
  • Foreign applications are eligible
Below is a summary of the most recent job postings by category (Faculty, Research Staff/Admin, Postdoc). Visit the HIRN Website for a full listing for job opportunities.

Assistant or Associate Professor

The Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes (BDC) at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is searching for an Assistant or Associate Professor. The person holding this position will develop and direct an independent, externally funded research program related to the development and/or investigation of the molecular and/or cellular mechanisms operative in human stem cell models related to understanding the etiology of Type 1 Diabetes or developing human stem cell derived therapies. This individual will be responsible for the daily management, supervision, training and evaluation of personnel (such as graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and professional research assistants) whose positions are funded by research grants on which s/he is the principal investigator. For more information and official job posting, please contact Dr. Lori Sussel.

iPS Core Manager

A iPS Core Manager position in available at the Kulkarni Lab at Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical Center. The Core Manager will set up the infrastructure, equipment and supervision of the functionality of generating human iPS cells from patient samples in the long-term goal of generating insulin-secreting beta-like cells for testing in ex vivo and in vitro studies. This role will primarily be responsible for supervising the laboratory as well as having the expertise to undertake hands-on work if necessary, to insure timely progress of the projects. Applicants for the position should provide a brief statement of research interests, CV and the names of three references to Dr. Rohit Kulkarni

Assistant Scientist
The University of Miami, Department of Medicine has an exciting opportunity for a Full-Time Assistant Scientist to work on the UHealth Campus. The Assistant Scientist carries out a particular research agenda in support of the University’s research goals and objectives. Moreover, the Assistant Scientist contributes to the scientific community by publishing research findings and promotes the University’s reputation as a leader in the field. For more information and official job posting, please contact Dr. Werneck de Castro.

Postdoctoral Position

The Integrative Omics Group at PNNL is seeking postdoctoral fellow to join our multi-disciplinary team with a focus on mass spectrometry-based omics analyses. The postdoc will be working across multiple cutting-edge and synergistic NIH-funded projects on human physiology and metabolism. The individual will be performing a single or a combination of deep mass spectrometry-based omics (proteomics, lipidomics, metabolomics, and/or analysis of post-translational modifications) and functional and analyses of cells, tissues, protein complexes, and biofluids to discover and probe novel mechanistic pathways that drive normal human development and dysregulations that contribute to diseases. Interested candidates should send their CV, cover letter, a brief statement of their research interests, and three references to Dr. Ernesto Nakaya

Postdoctoral Position

The laboratory of Dr. Audrey Parent at the University of California, San Francisco is seeking postdoctoral fellows interested in developing immune evasion strategies for beta cell replacement therapy. Our research program is diverse, combining directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into pancreatic beta cells and thymic epithelial cells with genome engineering approaches to study autoimmunity in humanized models. Selected candidates will work in a collaborative and interdisciplinary team and will be encouraged to develop their own research interests. Candidates must have a PhD in biology, immunology, or a related field. Applicants for the position should send a CV, a brief statement of their research interests, and contact information for three references to Dr. Audrey Parent.

Postdoctoral Position

The University of Miami, Department of Medicine, division of Endocrinology is seeking a Post Doctoral Associate that will support investigations that focus on understanding the molecular mechanisms that govern growth and survival of islet b- cells. The candidate will perform scientific research and studies under the supervision of managing staff. They will investigate the molecular and cellular biology of how insulin producing cells grow and die and how they adapt to diabetogenic conditions. Perform a variety of complex technical duties involved in conducting physical, chemical, biological and other research laboratory tests.  For more information and official job posting, please contact Dr. Werneck de Castro.

Postdoctoral Position

The Almaça lab in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in the Department of Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (UM) is seeking a highly motivated post-doctoral fellow to join their enthusiastic and energetic research team. The overall goal of the Almaça lab is to define the role of blood vessels in the regulation of hormone secretion from pancreatic islets. Much of the work will be focused on studying the physiology of islet pericytes and endothelial cells and examining their impact on endocrine cell function. The successful applicant for this position should have a Ph.D. degree and a background in physiology and functional imaging approaches. Applicants should provide a brief statement of their research interests, CV, and the names of three references to Dr. Joana Almaça.

Postdoctoral Position

The Tang lab at UCSF is looking for two postdoctoral fellows to work on projects on improving beta cell replacement therapy by promoting beta-cell survival in ischemia and developing local immune modulation strategies to avoid systemic immunosuppression. The ideal candidate should have experience in type 1 diabetes research, knowledge of transplant immunology, animal modeling, and enthusiasm for novel therapeutic development. The Tang lab is located in the UCSF Diabetes Center among a group of highly collaborative labs with expertise in immunology, stem cell biology, and beta-cell biology. Please contact Dr. Qizhi Tang for more information.

Postdoctoral Position
The laboratory of Dr. Yumi Imai in Internal Medicine at University of Iowa is recruiting postdoctoral fellows to join a dynamic and innovative research team that is a part of Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center. Research at Imai lab dissects pathogenesis of islet dysfunction in type 2 diabetes with a focus on lipid metabolism. Applications are invited from highly motivated candidates with Ph.D. and/or M.D. degrees. Expertise and skills in islet study, imaging, lipidology, and diabetes are highly relevant, but not required. In this position, you will address how production and clearance of lipids are regulated in pancreatic islets in health and deranged in diabetes using rodent and human islet models in vitro and in vivo. Candidates will also be encouraged to develop their own research projects. Interested candidates should send their CV, cover letter, a brief statement of research interest, and contact information with 3 references to Dr. Yumi Imai.
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