Deconstructing Organ Development Using Stem Cells

Friday, February 21, 2014 - 2:00pm to Monday, February 29, 2016 - 11:30am
Fung Auditorium | Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall
Maike Sander, M.D.

Professor, Pediatrics

University of California San Diego

Deconstructing Organ Development Using Stem Cells


Research in Dr. Sander's laboratory aims to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie the ability of multipotent stem/progenitor cells to produce the different cell types of the pancreas. Her research investigates this question in the context of pancreas development, pancreas regeneration and carcinogenesis. Dr. Sander’s laboratory combines of wide spectrum of approaches, including mouse genetics, as well as pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-based, genomic and biochemical approaches. Using an in vitro differentiation system of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), Dr. Sander's laboratory recently generated the first transcriptional and epigenetic map during the stepwise progression of hPSCs toward the pancreatic beta-cell fate. Integrative computational analysis of gene expression and epigenetic data revealed that the combination of epigenomic information with gene expression is drastically more informative for predicting cell type-specific regulators than expression alone. In current research, the Sander laboratory utilizes the hPSC differentiation system to reveal fundamental epigenetic principles of how cells acquire competence to respond to lineage-inductive environmental signaling cues. By understanding the biological processes related to pancreas and beta-cell development, Dr. Sander hopes to enhance the development of regenerative therapies for treatment of diabetes.


Dr. Sander is an expert in pancreatic stem cell biology with over twenty years of experience in medicine and academic research. After graduating with an M.D. from the University of Heidelberg Medical School in Germany, she conducted research at UC San Francisco. Before accepting her current position as Professor of Pediatrics and Cellular & Molecular Medicine at UC San Diego, Dr. Sander held faculty positions at Hamburg Medical School, Germany and the University of California, Irvine. In 2012, she was appointed Director of UC San Diego Pediatric Diabetes Research Center. She is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, a member of the NIH-Beta Cell Biology Consortium and the recipient of the Grodsky Award from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.