Melissa Brown

Research Assistant Professor
213 Chenoweth


B.S., University of Massachusetts Amherst; M.S., Rush University; Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago; Post-doctoral research, University of Massachusetts Medical Center; Registered Dietitian

Area(s) of Specialization: 

Islets, Diabetes, Beta Cell Expansion

Research Description: 

Millions of diabetics suffer an extremely poor quality of life due to complications of their disease.  The challenge is in finding a cure.  Progress is being made, with many routine and experimental treatment options available.  One promising experimental approach is pancreatic islet cell transplantation.  Islet cells are the cells in the pancreas that regulate blood sugar levels by secreting insulin.  Type I diabetics are lacking this mechanism due to destruction of their own islet cells by an auto-immune response.  Islet transplantation involves the removal of healthy islet cells from a deceased donor for transplantation into a diabetic recipient with the goal of providing the required insulin response to control blood sugars.  There are still many obstacles to overcome before this procedure can become routine. With potential demand greatly exceeding the supply of available donor tissue, beta islet cell expansion and alternative sources of creating insulin producing cells are critical areas of research.  Current activities in my lab are concentrated on these areas with particular focus on protecting islet cells after transplantation, enhancing the insulin secretory capabilities of isolated islets and investigating methodology to stimulate expansion and proliferation of beta islet cells in culture and in vivo.

Key Publications: 

L. Bonomi, M. Brown, N. Ungerleider, M. Muse, M. Matzuk, A. Schneyer. Activin B regulates islet composition and function but not whole body glucose homeostasis or insulin sensitivity. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 303: E587-E596, 2012. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00177.2012.

A. Schneyer, M. Brown. Altered glucose homeostasis resulting from developmental exposures to endocrine disruptors. In: Diamanti-Kandarakis D, Gore AC (eds), Endocrine Disruptors and Puberty. Springer/Humana, 2012. doi:10.1007/978-1-60761-561-3_11.

M. Brown, F. Kimura, L. Bonomi, N. Ungerleider, A. Schneyer. Differential synthesis and action of TGFb superfamily ligands in mouse and rat islets. Islets. 2011.Nov/Dec;3(6):1-9.

M.Brown, L. Bonomi, F. Kumura, N. Ungerleider, A. Schneyer.  Follistatin And Follistatin Like-3 Differentially Regulate Adiposity And Glucose Homeostasis. Obesity. advance online publication 5 May 2011. doi:10.1038/oby.2011.9.

S. Morini, G. Elias, M. Brown, V. Subbotin, C. Rastellini, L. Cicalese. Chronic morpho-functional damage as a consequence of transient ischemia/reperfusion injury of the small bowel. Histol Histopathol. 2010 Mar;25(3):277-86.

Melissa Brown Curriculum Vitae