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Principal Investigator: Jennifer Wang, MD

Dr. Wang is a renowned physician-scientist in the field of type 1 diabetes (T1D) and viral immunology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and UMass Memorial Health in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Type 1 Diabetes Research

Type 1 diabetes is caused by insulin deficiency resulting from the destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. Dr. Wang’s NIH-funded research has focused on how viral infection may trigger T1D. Using primary human islets (in vitro or engrafted in mice in vivo) and using rat models of diabetes, her research is currently investigating relationships between infection, innate immunity, inflammation and islet function. By collaborating with leading academic and industry investigators, Dr. Wang’s research further explores potential therapeutic targets for treating T1D.

Respiratory Virus Research

Influenza A virus (IAV) causes a highly contagious acute respiratory illness that's responsible for significant morbidity and mortality in humans. IAV causes both seasonal epidemics and worldwide pandemics. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the agent responsible for COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), has caused well over a million deaths worldwide. Dr. Wang’s current research, funded by DARPA and the Department of Defense, studies immune responses during infection with influenza IAV or SARS-CoV-2. She's actively engaged in human clinical studies for the prevention and treatment of human respiratory viruses.

In the News

Physician-Scientist Jennifer Wang Uses Stem-Cell Derived Beta Cells to Study the Effects of Viral Infections on Type 1 Diabetes Development

wang-study-2020.PNG

Enteroviruses encompass a group of viruses that give rise to infectious illnesses which are usually mild. However, if enteroviruses such as coxsackievirus infect the central nervous system or heart, they can cause serious illness. Enteroviral infections are also associated with type 1 diabetes, but how is not well understood. The Wang lab is using stem-cell derived beta cells to study virus-driven immunology and beta cell dysfunction, with the ultimate goal of new treatments.  LEARN MORE

Dr. Wang Receives Funding Grant to Continue Studying How Viruses Trigger Type 1 Diabetes

How virus triggers type 1 diabetes

The Wang lab plans to better understand type 1 diabetes by working with a new animal model to identify pathways which could be stopped in order to prevent the disease from developing.  LEARN MORE