About the BCBC
To facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations to advance our understanding of pancreatic islet development and function, with the goal of developing innovative therapies to correct the loss of beta cell mass in diabetes, including cell reprogramming, regeneration and replacement.
The scientific goals for the BCBC are to:
- Use cues from pancreatic development to directly differentiate pancreatic beta cells and islets from stem/progenitor cells for use in cell-replacement therapies for diabetes,
- Determine how to stimulate beta cell regeneration in the adult pancreas as a basis for improving beta cell mass in diabetic patients,
- Determine how to reprogram progenitor/adult cells into pancreatic beta-cells both in-vitro and in-vivo as a mean for developing cell-replacement therapies for diabetes, and
- Investigate the progression of human type-1 diabetes using patient-derived cells and tissues transplanted in humanized mouse models.
The Beta Cell Biology Consortium (BCBC) is a team science initiative that was established by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). It was first funded in 2001 (RFA DK-01-014), and competitively continued in 2005 (RFAs DK-01-17, DK-01-18), and in 2009 (RFA DK-09-011).
Activities within the BCBC are overseen by both NIDDK staff members and participating scientists. A Steering Committee, which consists of all BCBC Principal Investigators, meets on a semi-annual basis. An Executive Committee meets monthly by teleconference. An External Evaluation Committee serves to provide objective scientific input and guidance.
A Coordinating Center located at Vanderbilt University provides the organizational infrastructure for the BCBC. Its primary objectives are to 1) facilitate interactions and communication by organizing meetings and retreats, distributing announcements, and maintaining a website with databases of vital research resources; 2) support research within the BCBC by organizing core facilities and, when necessary, developing new cores; 3) jumpstart new research by young investigators through a Pilot and Feasibility (P&F) Grant Program; and 4) bring different groups of scientists together within the BCBC through a Program of Collaborative Bridging Projects.
Many of the BCBC investigator-initiated projects involve reagent-generating activities that will benefit the larger scientific community. The combination of programs and activities that, together comprise the BCBC, should accelerate the pace of major new discoveries and progress within the field of beta cell biology.