James D. Johnson, PhD
Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences and Department of Surgery
CDA Scholar, CIHR New Investigator Research- UBC Campus
LSC 5320 Lab. 5358 Life Sciences Centre
2350 Health Sciences Mall
Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6T 1Z3
Office Phone: 604.822.7187 or 604.822.7067 Departmental Fax: 604.822.6048
- All forms of diabetes are associated with the loss of functional pancreatic beta-cells. Islet transplantation is a promising therapy for diabetes, but it is also plagued by unacceptably high levels of beta-cell death. Very little is known about the underlying factors controlling how and why pancreatic islet cells die. Dr. Johnson has discovered important networks of molecules that control beta-cell survival. One such network includes the RyR2 protein, which controls the release of calcium in the cell, and calpain proteins, which can split other proteins in response to increased calcium. Dr. Johnson is comparing the role of this survival network to other molecular networks to investigate how pancreatic islet cells die. Dr. Johnson is examining the pro-survival effects of growth factors, including insulin itself.