Researcher to Describe Role of Stem Cells in Diabetes

Douglas A. Melton
Stem cells offer hope for treatment of a host of diseases, and diabetes could be one of the most important. The potential of “Stem Cells to Understand and Treat Diabetes” will be the subject of a state-of-the-art lecture by Douglas A. Melton, PhD, on Thursday, Nov. 13.

Dr. Melton is the Saris University Professor at Harvard. He is also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and co-chair of the department of stem cell and regenerative biology at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Dr. Melton’s laboratory studies how cell differentiation is directed during development and the role of stem cells in tissue regeneration. The lab’s particular focus is the study of the genes and cells that make pancreatic tissue with the goal of making pancreatic cells for transplantation into people with diabetes.

Dr. Melton earned his doctorate in molecular biology from Cambridge University in the U.K. He has been with Harvard since 1981, and he and his wife serve as co-masters of a residential house for about 450 Harvard College undergraduates.

The author or co-author of more than 170 scientific publications, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His many awards include the Lounsberry Medal from the National Academy of Sciences and the Joslin Medal from the Joslin Diabetes Center. In recognition of his advocacy for stem cell research, he was chosen as the Scientific American policy leader of the year in 2007. He has twice been named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.