Institute for Vascular and Islet Cell Biology

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Fundamentals of pancreatic islets and blood vessels - Development of new drugs and therapies for the treatment of diabetes and its cardiovascular consequences

At the Institute for Vascular and Islet Cell Biology, the pathomechanisms in beta cells and endothelial cells in glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes are researched.

Diabetes is caused by dysfunction of pancreatic islets. The islets are cell aggregates and mainly consist of insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells. Islet dysfunction affects beta cells in that these cells display a defective insulin secretion, have an increased cell death and undergo dedifferentiation.

Members of the Institute work on these aspects of islet cell biology and were the first to show that a defective vascularization of pancreatic islets causes prediabetes, a first step towards a manifested diabetes mellitus.

The members could also show that blood vessels provide tissues, including pancreatic islets and liver tissue, with critical growth factors triggered by blood flow and thus affect tissue growth and survival.

Besides working on basic aspects of pancreatic islets and blood vessels, the Institute also works on development of new compounds and therapies to better treat diabetes and its cardiovascular long-term complications.

Managing Directors

Selected Publications


Selected external cooperation partners (alphabetical)

  • Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG, Biberach: Dr. P. Eickelmann, Dr. S.G. Kauschke, Dr. D. Schumann
  • Cisanello Krankenhaus, Pisa: Prof. Dr. P. Marchetti, Dr. M. Bugliani
  • Harvard Medical School, Boston: Prof. Dr. N. Gray, Dr. Q. Liu, Dr. J. Wang
  • Hubrecht Institut, Utrecht: Prof. Dr. S. Schulte-Merker, Dr. F.L. Bos
  • Karls-Universität, Prag: Prof. Dr. T. Kucera
  • Klinik für Allgemeine Pädiatrie, Neonatologie und Kinderkardiologie, Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf: Dr. D. Herebian, Dr. J. Marquard, Prof. Dr. E. Mayatepek, PD Dr. T. Meissner
  • MPI für Biochemie, München: Prof. Dr. R. Fässler, Prof. Dr. M. Mann
  • Osaka Universität, Osaka: Prof. Dr. S. Tsukita
  • Profil Institut für Stoffwechselforschung, Neuss: Dr. T. Heise, Prof. Dr. F. Schliess, Dr. A. Stirban
  • San Raffaele Wissenschaftsinstitut, Mailand: Dr. L. Piemonti
  • Technische Universität Dresden: Prof. Dr. S. Bornstein, Prof. Dr. G. Breier, Dr. S. Speier
  • Universität Bremen: Prof. Dr. K. Maedler
  • University of British Columbia, Vancouver: Prof. Dr. K.M. McNagny, Dr. M.R. Hughes
  • University of California, San Diego: Prof. Dr. Napoleone Ferrara
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