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Grant Title: Effect of liver histopathology on islet cell engraftment in the model mimicking autologous islet cell transplantation

Grant Year: 2015

Recipient: Chirag Desai, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery
Surgical Director, Liver Transplant Program
Director, Chronic Pancreatitis and Autologous Islet Cell Transplant Program
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


“My predominant area of expertise involves surgeries for chronic pancreatitis (including total pancreatectomy and autologous islet cell transplant) and abdominal organ transplant (mainly liver and intestinal transplant). I have been involved in clinical research in these fields for several years. Many overlapping questions often arise in these fields. Scientific publications in the field of islet cell transplant mostly have an assumption that all livers are the same. To a transplant and HPB surgeon like me, this has always seemed to be an erroneous concept. I had published clinical observations related to liver and auto islet transplant that have highlighted the fact that all livers cannot be assumed to be the same when considering an autologous islet cell transplant. I was looking for performing an initial experiment as proof of concept.  Funding is always difficult for a full time surgeon like me. Talking to a few colleagues, the idea of applying to the NPF came up and I vividly remember being told that, ‘the NPF is supportive of experiments which could help answer pertinent clinical questions’. Hence I applied, and I received funding in 2015. Based on the experiments carried out, we recently published our findings. Not only did it confirm the clinical doubt/observation that I had published earlier in clinical practice the results stimulated many more questions, including strategies which could be explored for future experiments that may benefit our patients. Along with this, the NPF gave an opportunity and confidence to a clinical surgeon to ask for more questions, as well as look forward to applying for additional funding to further this area of medical science.”

Publications stemmed from The NPF Research Grant:
Online publication: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Islets on September 13, 2017, available online:

To read the entire publication (PDF), please Click Here.
For the abstract, please Click Here.