We are proud to present the distinguished speakers selected by the organising committee.
Keynote Speakers
Anna Gloyn

The consistent focus Anna Gloyn’s research has been using naturally occurring mutations in humans as tools to identity critical regulatory pathways and insights into normal physiology with a focus on the pancreatic islet.  She is a member of multiple international consortia focused on genetic discovery including the Accelerated Medicines Partnership for Common Metabolic Disease and efforts to improve our understanding of the islet in health and disease including the Human Pancreas Atlas Program.   She is the recipient of multiple awards including the EASD Minkoswki award (2014) and the ADA Outstanding Scientific Achievement award (2022). 

Maike Sander

Dr. Maike Sander was appointed Scientific Director of the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin, Germany in November 2022. Prior, she served as Director of the Pediatric Diabetes Research Center and Co-Director of the Center for Diabetes in the Institute of Engineering in Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Sander's research aims to understand the molecular mechanisms that control the formation and function of insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells with the goal to identify novel therapeutic approaches for diabetes. 

Foundational work by her group on gene regulatory pathways underlying beta cell formation has led to the development of protocols to produce beta cells from human pluripotent stem cells. Her current work combines genetic approaches in a human pluripotent stem cell model of beta cells with single-cell genomics and genetic association data to understand causes of beta cell dysfunction and death in diabetes. 

Invited Speakers
Tom Barsby

Tom Barsby is a Postdoctoral researcher in the Stem Cells and Metabolism Research Program at the University of Helsinki, Finland. After completing graduate research training in the use of pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) for tendon regeneration, he moved to Australia to pursue his doctorate in the field of neural differentiation within biocompatible scaffolds at the University of Wollongong and the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery. His postdoctoral research now focuses on the use of stem cell-derived islet (SC-islet) models to understand the molecular mechanisms of islet maturation and metabolic fuel-coupling.

Bengt-Frederik Belgardt

Bengt-Frederik Belgardt studied biology at the University of Cologne, Germany, and pursued his doctoral studies focusing on obesity-associated neuronal pathologies. He conducted his postdoc research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, where he investigated the role of microRNAs in beta cell physiology. Since 2015, Dr. Belgardt has been Principal Investigator and Deputy Institute Director at the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf, Germany, where he focuses on complex lipids in metabolic disease. 

Malgorzata Borowiak

Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland

Dr. Malgorzata Borowiak completed her undergraduate degree at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, and obtained her Ph.D. from Fee University and Max Delbruck Centrum in Berlin, Germany. She then pursued her postdoctoral research at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, focusing on  pancreatic differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells, and signaling that govern pancreatic cell fate. Following her postdoctoral work with Dr. Melton, she established her independent research group first at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, USA, and later returned to her hometown of Poznan to initiate the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine program. Her research group is dedicated to investigating the mechanisms that determine cell fate in the human pancreas, with a specific emphasis on endocrine cell development, plasticity, maturation, and in vitro modeling of atypical diabetes. Recently, using single-cell transcriptomics of developing endocrine cells, we identified ECM and cell adhesion-associated proteins that control human endocrine cell differentiation and expansion.

Joan Camuñas-Soler

Dr. Joan Camuñas-Soler is an Assistant Professor and Wallenberg Molecular Medicine Fellow at the University of Gothenburg since 2022. His current research focus is on data-driven genomics and precision medicine. Previously, as a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University, he pioneered novel single-cell genomic techniques to study islet-cell function. He also developed liquid biopsy tools for early prediction of pregnancy complications, which led to the creation of a molecular diagnostics startup. His research is highly interdisciplinary and combines approaches from molecular engineering, biophysics, and computational biology. His work has been recognized with several awards, patents, and prestigious establishment grants. 

Per-Ola Carlsson

Per-Ola Carlsson is a professor of Medical Cell Biology at Uppsala University, Sweden. He also serves as a senior consultant in endocrinology and diabetology at Uppsala University Hospital.

His research focus has during the years been on islet physiology, islet vascular biology and vascular engraftment of transplanted pancreatic islets. In recent years he has also focused on stem cell research including cell therapy studies He has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications.

Miriam Cnop

Miriam Cnop, MD, PhD, studies the role and mechanisms of b cell failure in type 2 and monogenic diabetes, with the aim to develop strategies to improve functional b cell mass. She identified the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response as a mediator of b cell failure induced by free fatty acids and in type 2 diabetes. Using patients’ iPSCs, she studies monogenic forms of diabetes due to mutations affecting ER homeostasis and the ER stress response. 

She directs the ULB Center for Diabetes Research and is professor in the Endocrine Division of the Erasmus Hospital, Université Libre de Bruxelles.

Elisa De Franco

Elisa De Franco studied medical biotechnologies at the University of Turin, Italy, followed by an EU-funded PhD fellowship at the University of Exeter. She is currently a Senior Research Fellow in Exeter and the recipient of a Diabetes UK RD Lawrence Fellowship and an EFSD/Novo Nordisk Future Leader award.  

Elisa’s research uses genome sequencing to discover genes essential for beta-cell development and function. Her work has been recognised by multiple awards, including the EASD Rising Star award in 2018 and the ISPAD Young Investigator Award in 2020. She has published over 80 papers, including first-author publications in the Lancet and Nature Genetics. 

Eelco de Koning

Eelco de Koning is Professor of Diabetology at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) in the Netherlands. He obtained his M.D. from the University of Utrecht and is a board-certified endocrinologist (2001). He worked towards his Ph.D. at the Diabetes Research Laboratories in Oxford (1991-1994) and was a visiting scientist at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston (2004-2005). He coordinates the national islet transplantation program in the Netherlands and is medical director of the human islet isolation and transplantation unit at the LUMC. His research aims at a better understanding of human islet biology, islet regeneration and preservation, and novel sources for insulinproducing cells. He is a principal investigator in the the international stem cell consortium reNEW, the regenerative medicine consortium RegMedXB and the European Union consortium ISLET that are focused on developing novel islet replacement strategies for type 1 diabetes. He is past-president of the European Pancreas and Islet Transplantation Association (EPITA) and council member of the International Pancreas and Islet Transplantation Association (IPITA).

Yuval Dor

Yuval Dor, PhD, is a professor of biology at the Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine in Jerusalem, Israel. He earned his PhD in vascular biology at the Hebrew University with Eli Keshet, and trained as a post-doc at Harvard University with Doug Melton until 2004. He studies the molecular mechanisms by which cells regenerate and die. Much of his work focuses on beta-cells, most recently in the context of islet inflammation in early stage type 1 diabetes. He has also developed a novel blood test to study cell death in humans, using methylation signatures of cell-free circulating DNA. 

Malin Flodström Tullberg

Malin Flodström-Tullberg is Professor and Deputy Unit Head of the Center for Infectious Medicine (CIM) at the Department of Medicine of the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. She has published over 100 full papers and reviews in peer-reviewed journals. Her research focuses on understanding the causes of type 1 diabetes and contributing to the development and preclinical testing of new preventive measures against the disease. Much of the research effort is devoted to understanding the relationship between environmental factors (e.g. enterovirus infections) and type 1 diabetes. This includes the development and preclinical testing of Coxsackievirus vaccines, identification of biomarkers, and studies on how the virus affects the beta cell and the immune system with a goal to uncover disease mechanisms and druggable pathways. 

Matthias Hebrok

Professor Matthias Hebrok holds the Chair for Applied Stem Cell and Organoid Systems at the Technical University, Munich (TUM). He also serves as the inaugural Director of the Center for Organoid Systems (COS) at the TUM, and as the Director of the Institute for Diabetes and Organoid Technology (IDOT) at Helmholtz Munich.  Prior to moving to Munich in 2022, he served as the Director of the Diabetes Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).  His group has made seminal contributions to the fields of pancreas organ development, stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. 

Rachel Jennings

Rachel Jennings is a Diabetes UK Harry Keen Intermediate Fellow at the University of Manchester and Honorary Consultant in Endocrinology at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. She researches human developmental biology, completing her PhD in 2014 in Professor Neil Hanley’s lab. As junior principal investigator, Rachel’s group focusses on the genetic regulation of embryonic and fetal pancreas development, and whether Type 2 Diabetes genetic risk variants influence pancreas developmental gene programmes. Rachel is also PI for the Early Pregnancy Tissue Collection at the University of Manchester. 

Piero Marchetti

Piero Marchetti is full professor of Endocrinology at the University of Pisa, Italy, and current director of the Unit of Diabetology and Metabolic Diseases of the Pisa University Hospital. His main areas of interest include the pathophysiology of pancreatic islet cells, the role of pancreas and islet transplantation in the cure of diabetes, and the impact of diabetes in renal/liver graft recipients. In collaboration with leading scientists has participated in several research projects funded by national and international agencies, and has published 476 full length articles retrievable from PubMed, with a Scopus h-index of 84 and > 28,000 citations. 

Huixia Ren

Dr. Huixia Ren, from the Center for Quantitative Biology at Peking University, develops microfludic chips, imaging methods (2D and 3D fluorescence imaging), transgenic animals, and mathematical modeling to offer fresh insights into long-standing inquiries concerning calcium signaling and intercellular communication in mouse and human islets. Her research holds significance for understanding the regulation of insulin and glucagon secretion. 

Sarah Richardson

University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom

Sarah Richardson is an Associate Professor at the University of Exeter with a passionate interest in Type 1 diabetes.  She co-leads the Islet Biology Exeter (IBEx) group. Her research utilises unique cohorts of type 1 diabetes pancreas and is centred around understanding the disease processes by which beta cells are targeted and destroyed.  She has particular interests in the role that enteroviruses and anti-viral responses play in the disease, and how age at diagnosis may impact diabetes endotypes. She curates the Exeter Archival Diabetes Biobank, which contains the most extensive and rarest collection of recent-onset Type 1 diabetes pancreata globally.

Raphael Scharfmann

Raphael Scharfmann obtained his PhD in 1989 at University Paris VII, France. He next did a post doc at the Salk institute, La Jolla, CA (1989-1991) and obtained a permanent position at INSERM at the end of 1991. He obtained the prestigious Minkowski Award (for distinguished research in the field of Diabetes in Europe) (1999) and the Bettencourt Award (2012). He is currently Research Director at INSERM within the Cochin Institute, University Paris-Cité, France. He is one of the co-founders of EndoCells/Human Cell Design, a French biotech company. The major objective of his group is to develop innovative ways define signals regulating functional pancreatic endocrine cell mass in rodent and human.

Andrew Stewart

Dr. Andrew Stewart is the Director of the Diabetes Obesity Metabolism Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His group has identified the first small molecule class of drugs that are able to induce human beta cells to replicate, the DYRK1A inhibitors, findings that have been reproduced in both pharma and academia. His team has developed next-gen small molecule DYRK1A inhibitors and is moving them from preclinical to clinical studies. The work has clear translational implications for Types 1 as well as Type 2 diabetes.

Anders Tengholm

Anders Tengholm’s main research interest is intracellular signalling processes relevant for the control of islet hormone secretion. His laboratory uses various optical sensors and live-cell imaging approaches to monitor second messenger concentration changes, localization and activity of signalling proteins and exocytosis in beta cells as well as in alpha and delta cells. From 2010 to 2013 Tengholm served as chairman of the Islet Study Group.

Nils Wierup

Nils Wierup is professor in cell biology at Lund University Diabetes Centre. He is vice coordinator of LUDC and is head of the research group Neuroendocrine cell biology. His resarch is focused on islet biology and gastro-intestinal endocrinology and how islet and enteroendocrine cells are affected in Type 2 diabetes.    

Arnaud Zaldumbide

Dr. Arnaud Zaldumbide is associate professor at the Cell and Chemical Biology department of the Leiden University Medical Center investigating the interplay between the immune system and the pancreatic beta cells in the immunopathogenesis of type 1 diabetes. His work focuses on unravelling the effect of inflammation and metabolic stress on transcription, translation and post-translational modifications of human islet autoantigens. At the LUMC, he is also bridging islet transplantation and immune intervention programs by developing new strategies to generate insulin producing cells and to protect beta cells against recurrent autoimmunity.