International group changes the way science is done

Bill Snyder
Published: July, 2003

Based at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the Beta Cell Biology Consortium includes researchers from more than a dozen universities around the world and from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which funds the effort.

When the consortium was created in 2001, Vanderbilt was chosen to be the coordinating center because, at the time, “we had the only program project (funded by the institute) that was focused entirely on the pancreatic beta cell,” says Mark A. Magnuson, M.D., who chairs the consortium’s steering committee.

Other Vanderbilt faculty members who participate in the consortium are Drs. Chris Wright, Roland Stein, Jason Moore, David Piston and Maureen Gannon.

Magnuson is optimistic that this coordinated effort will lead to the identification of factors necessary to convert stem cells into pancreatic islet cells. “These mega-organizations are really changing the way that we approach doing science,” he says.

For more information, visit the consortium’s Web site at www.betacell.org.

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