nPOD Welcome

Welcome to the 16th Annual JDRF nPOD Scientific Meeting!

Dear Colleague,

As has been tradition, we are pleased to see nPOD investigators join together with the broader type 1 diabetes research community once again and come together to engage in scientific discussions. Over the years, the nPOD annual meeting has built a unique environment that promotes scientific discussion and collaboration. We are thankful that you made attendance a priority to join us again this year, or if this is your first time, to take part in this meeting. We are delighted that so many early career investigators and fellows will comprise its list of attendees.  

The high and sustained output of high impact publications that nPOD investigators produce continues to make us proud. You are moving the field forwards towards a more complete understanding of the human disease, which is made possible by your talent together with the generous gift of our donors’ families. We are confident that the new knowledge gained will lead to improved therapies and lives for those with 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., Novo Nordisk, Biorep Technologies, and Immunocore. We remain grateful for the longstanding support nPOD has received from JDRF and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. In addition, the Helmsley Charitable Trust provides critical support for nPOD research through the George S. Eisenbarth nPOD Award for Team Science, used to fund nPOD investigators and collaborative nPOD working groups. 

Finally, we would like to note a few exciting changes for this year’s meeting, including having our first meeting on the USA’s West Coast. We have developed a scientific program that covers a broad range of topics of high relevance to type 1 diabetes, highlights the amazing discoveries that nPOD investigators continue to make, and allows time for discussion and interactions and we look forward to hearing feedback on the notion of “Key Questions” in type 1 diabetes research.  

Once again, thank you, and we look forward to an exciting time together.

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,

We are delighted to welcome you to the 16th Annual nPOD Scientific Meeting on behalf of The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Our Type 1 Diabetes Program aims to support bold projects with the potential to change the trajectory of the disease — to prevent or delay its development and to support drug discovery for better treatment strategies. The millions of people living with type 1 diabetes around the world are always at the center of what we do. That is why we are proud to continue our over nine-year commitment to supporting the nPOD community and its important work. The nPOD network’s collaborative and innovative research
structure brings together highly dedicated researchers working on type 1 diabetes and is making great strides in building a better understanding of the disease. We have seen great team science through our support for the George S. Eisenbarth nPOD Award for Team Science. We also support pilot awards, including over 20 projects to date, for individual investigators asking novel and bold questions using nPOD samples, because we know how important it is to seed funding for new ideas.

We have seen incredible progress over the years, but many unanswered questions remain. We believe the unique and precious samples available through nPOD, and the dedication of the researchers in the network, are bringing us closer to answers. Hopefully, soon, this work will reveal new ways to ease, or even remove, the burden of type 1 diabetes. 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

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.