Piston Lab

South Building, Room 4910

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Fluorescence | Imaging | Quantitative Biology | Mathematical Models

Our lab focuses on understanding glucose-regulated hormone secretion from the islet of Langerhans, which is made up of glucagon secreting α-cells, insulin-secreting β-cells, and somatostatin-secreting δ-cells.  Recent work has uncovered glucagon’s critical role in glucose homeostasis and the pathology of diabetes.  Multiple signaling pathways arising from intrinsic glucose sensing, paracrine interactions and juxtacrine contacts within the islet all play a role in α-cell function.  Our lab develops quantitative fluorescence technology broadly applicable to cell, tissue, and whole-organism imaging experiments.  We apply these methods to assay living islet function quantitatively both ex vivo and in vivo, and these studies are proving critical to advancing our understanding of the regulation of glucagon secretion from α-cells.