Dr. Balamurugan Appakalai, PhD, an international pioneer in islet cell isolation and transplantation for the treatment of diabetes, has been appointed as Associate professor of Surgery and the Director of Islet Cell Laboratory at the University of Louisville Department of Surgery in June 2014. Dr. Bala joins the UofL to establish a clinical islet transplant program to treat patients with painful chronic pancreatitis (islet auto-transplantation) and severe type-1 diabetes (islet allo-transplantation). His islet biology research initiatives will focus on improving functional capacity of isolated islets and type-II diabetes research. His career has revolved around manufacturing and optimizing pancreatic islet cell products for clinical transplantation studies at the Universities of Kyoto, Pittsburgh, Colorado, and Minnesota. Dr. Bala directed clinical islet cGMP facility and performed several clinical islet allo-transplantations at the Barbara Davis Diabetes Center of the University of Colorado in Denver. Dr. Bala also previously served on the faculty at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute of the University of Pittsburgh from 2001-2006, where he was an Assistant Professor of Surgery, holding leadership positions as Associate Director of the Islet Transplant Program and the Co-Director of Islet Processing Core. He processed over 250 human pancreases for various diabetes research projects. He has published 100 research articles including book chapters and serves on the editorial review boards of several journals. He has been invited nationally and internationally to give numerous presentations on his research studies on islet cell transplantation.
Islet mass by optimizing various tissue dissociation enzymes and the survival of islets during islet manufacturing (this includes optimizing pancreas procurement, preservation, pancreas digestion, islet purification, islet culture and islet isolation)