Michael A. Brehm, PhD



BS in Microbiology, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, Philadelphia, PA
PhD in Microbiology/Immunology, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA
UMass Profile

Major Area of Investigation

Understanding the etiology and pathogenesis of autoimmune type 1 diabetes.

Our Research Goal

Understanding human immune responses, both how to turn them off for the treatment of type 1 diabetes and autoimmunity and conversely, to use the same pathways to turn the immune response on for the treatment of cancer. For these studies, we use animal models of human immune responses for investigating these approaches to downregulate as well as activate the human immune system.

Some of Our Current Research Includes:

Specialized Mouse Avatars for T1D

Reconstructing human T1D, using cells derived from T1D patients, in our novel immunodeficient mouse.  It provides a better understanding about how humans might react to certain factors.

Use of Specialized Mouse Models to Determine the Role of Costimulation Pathway Reagents in Human Immune Cells In Vivo

Assessing the role of human T cell costimulation pathway reagents in vivo using our unique specialized mouse models.

Development and Validation of Novel Mouse Models for Human Stem Cell Therapy

Working to generate new models of immunodeficient mice for the functional in vivo evaluation of human stem cells and to validate these models by determining the ability of human stem cells to generate functional differentiated human cells and tissues that ameliorate disease.

Graphene Composite Membranes for Nano-Enabled Macroencapsulation

Developing an encapsulation device using graphene composite membranes in collaboration with Lockheed Martin to assess the viability and function of encapsulated human islets in vivo.

From New Models to Novel Therapeutics

Co-Director with Dr. Michael Brehm of a Pre-clinical/Co-clinical Core to advance development and use of models of human specific diseases.  The Core is working with The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) Precision Genetics Center (JPGC) promoting interactions with clinicians and hospitals, access to patient data and samples and comprehensive model assessment necessary for generation of models engrafted with human tumors and immune systems for preclinical testing.