David W. Piston, PhD

David W. Piston, PhD

Edward J. Mallinckrodt, Jr. Professor and Head of Cell Biology & Physiology

The Piston Lab studies the molecular pathways of islet hormone secretion.

Research Interests

Studies of the Molecular Pathways of Islet Hormone Secretion

Professional Education
  • BA: Grinnell College, 1984, Physics
  • MS: University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, 1986, Physics
  • PhD: University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, 1989, Physics
  • Postdoc: Cornell University, 1989-1992, Applied Physics
Terese Hall, Assistant to Dr. David Piston
  • Office Location: Room 4912 South Building
    Phone: 314-362-5057
    Email: tereseh@wustl.edu

Piston Lab

South Building (MS: 8228-0003-04)

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.