Rita Bottino, United States

Rita Bottino, Ph.D., heads a team that was one of the first to successfully process pancreatic islets for hospitals, including the Cleveland Clinic. The team also is a reference laboratory for the isolation and distribution is islets of Langerhans obtained from the pancreas of deceased organ donors for research purposes. That research is in collaboration with Stanford University, Vanderbilt University, University of Massachusetts, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York and the Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes. The team’s expertise includes the isolation of insulin-producing cells from juvenile, diabetic and marginal donors, which allows researchers to optimize organ donations. Working with Massimo Trucco, Dr. Bottino has developed the first gene-engineered pigs whose organs and tissues could avoid immune rejection. This discovery could allow researchers to bring organs from these animals into the clinic, instead of needing human donors. Dr. Bottino is a an associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, and an associate Professor in the department of Microbiology and Immunology Drexel University College of Medicine. She received a diploma of science from the Scientific Lyceum in Genova, Italy, in 1984, and a doctorate in biological sciences from the University of Genova in 1990.

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