nPOD Welcome

Welcome to the 15th Annual JDRF nPOD Scientific Meeting!

Dear Colleague,

It is the time of the year when the nPOD community, and the broader T1D community, come together to meet and discuss science. Over the years, the annual nPOD meeting has built an ambience that promotes scientific discussion and collaboration, and we are proud that many new projects have been seeded by in person discussion at the meeting. We are thankful that you made it a priority to join us again this year, or if this is your first time, to take part in the nPOD meeting. We also delighted that many early career investigators and fellows will join our meeting. We want to engage the next generations as they are the future of type 1 diabetes research.

We cannot be prouder of the high and sustained output of high impact publications that emanate from nPOD investigators. You are moving the field forwards towards a more complete understanding of the human disease, which is made possible by your talent and the generous gift of our donors’ families. We remain deeply thankful to the families and strive to honor the memory of their loved ones through our collective scientific progress. We are confident that the new knowledge will lead to improved therapies for type 1 diabetes.

The success of the nPOD meeting relies on the critical contributions of nPOD staff, the nPOD SAB, nPOD investigators, and the working groups. Together, their contributions make the nPOD meeting unique.

We would also like to acknowledge the gracious financial support provided to this year’s meeting by KRONUS, Inc., Provention Biosciences, and Biorep Technologies. We remain grateful for the longstanding support nPOD has received from JDRF, which has effectively formed an intellectual partnership with nPOD. The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has also been a key funder of nPOD through their interest and participation in our annual meeting. In addition, the Helmsley Charitable Trust provides critical support for nPOD research through the George S. Eisenbarth nPOD Award for Team Science, which is used to fund nPOD investigators and collaborative nPOD working groups.

We have developed a scientific program that covers a broad range of topics of high relevance to type 1 diabetes, showcases the amazing discoveries that nPOD investigators continue to make, and allows time for discussion and interactions. We look forward to an exciting meeting and to welcome you in person to our new meeting venue in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Best regards,

JDRF Welcome

Dear nPOD Annual Meeting Attendees:

Thank you for participating in the 16th Annual Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes (nPOD) Annual Scientific Meeting.

JDRF has a long history of bringing together investigators worldwide to share data and ideas and chart pathways to advances in type 1 diabetes (T1D) research and development. Your participation in events that foster T1D research holds the potential to benefit millions of people across the globe, and we are very grateful for all of your excellent work. Whether this is your first time at the nPOD Meeting or your 14th, you will find these days enlightening and meaningful as you continue our shared quest—a world without T1D.

It’s bittersweet for me not to be able to join the meeting and be there with you to hear about your progress. As a scientist, I look forward to your ideas and addressing the gaps where JDRF can invest in accelerating the field forward. I know that you will share some of the latest advances and research projects as we race for cures for T1D. nPOD has played such a pivotal role in our understanding of pathogenesis and supporting new therapeutic approaches to cure T1D. I can’t wait to hear a summary of the meeting.

I wish you a stimulating, gratifying and successful conference. May it lead to innovative strategies, improved understanding, new collaborations and partnerships, and transformative research. Thank you for supporting our mission.





Aaron J. Kowalski, Ph.D.

Helmsley Welcome

Dear nPOD community,

On behalf of The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, we are delighted to welcome you to the 15th Annual nPOD Scientific Meeting. The Helmsley Type 1 Diabetes Program is committed to changing the trajectory of type 1 diabetes (T1D), including by supporting research into strategies to prevent or delay disease development and into drug discovery to improve treatments. At the heart of our mission are the millions of people with T1D and their communities around the world who face the heavy burden of a lifethreatening disease every day.

At Helmsley, we know the power of collaboration and data sharing to elevate biomedical research. Our T1D Program is proud to continue our over eight-year commitment to supporting the nPOD community and its vision of collaborative, innovative, and impactful T1D research. We have seen great team science through our support for the George S. Eisenbarth nPOD Award for Team Science. Recognizing the importance of seed funding for new ideas, we also support pilot awards, including 18 projects to date, for individual investigators asking novel and bold questions using nPOD samples.

Through our partnership with you, the nPOD community, we have already seen remarkable discoveries. Such studies of human tissue hold great promise to improve our understanding of the biology of T1D — we are hopeful this work will reveal new ways to ease, or even remove, the burden of this relentless disease for people with or at risk for developing T1D.

We look forward to connecting with you at the meeting and learning about the latest advances in the community. We wish you a productive and successful meeting.

Warmest regards,

Gina Agiostratidou, PhD, MBA

Program Director

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

Maryaline Coffre, PhD

Associate Program Officer

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

History & Mission of nPOD

The Network for Pancreatic Organ donors with Diabetes (nPOD) is a collaborative type 1 diabetes research project funded by JDRF. nPOD supports approved scientific Investigators by providing, without cost, rare and difficult to obtain tissues beneficial to their research. nPOD began as a feasibility pilot project in 2007, and as of February 2016, supports upwards of 170 type 1 diabetes-related scientific studies at institutions around the world. Approved Investigators can participate in the nPOD program, even if they do not have outside funding to support their scientific research. nPOD actively promotes data sharing, collaboration and team science approaches, and, as of 2015, can support approved projects through the Helmsley Charitable Trust George S. Eisenbarth nPOD Award for Team Science.

nPOD strives to maintain a network of procuring and characterizing, in a collaborative manner, pancreata and related tissues (spleen, lymph nodes, pancreatic lymph nodes, peripheral blood, thymus, bone marrow, skin) from cadaveric organ donors in the following donor groups:

  1. Type 1 diabetes – These donors are potentially the key to helping our scientific Investigators unlock the disease process in type 1 diabetes, and answer fundamental questions about the autoimmune process that leads to the destruction of the insulin producing pancreatic beta cells.
  2. Type 1 diabetes-related autoantibody positive, but no clinical symptoms of the disease – These donors will help scientists study the autoimmune process at the very earliest stages of beta cell destruction.
  3. History of pancreas transplant and type 1 diabetes – These donors improve our understanding of islet autoimmunity and its evolution, and how this may be related to poorly understood mechanisms of pancreas regeneration/remodeling, and how both autoimmunity and regeneration may be affected by chronic immunosuppression.
  4. Type 2 diabetes – These donors serve as a control for hyperglycemia and other disease processes relating to beta cell dysfunction, which are also be relevant to type 1 diabetes.
  5. Persons without diabetes – These donors serve as normal control type when compared to other donor sets.

Utilizing these high quality (i.e., transplant grade) tissues, Investigators work together to address key immunological, histological, viral, and metabolic questions and generate a comprehensive analysis of human type 1 diabetes, leading to a cure for the disease. nPOD works closely with Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) to recover organs and tissues of interest. Inclusion and exclusion criteria are updated as necessary, based on feedback from the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and Investigator needs. The nPOD website ( provides additional information about the project and research efforts currently supported by nPOD, which are also listed in this booklet.