Pedro Herrera, PhD, is Full Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of Geneva University since 2013. He investigates pancreas development and regeneration. He introduced innovative genetic cell tracing methods to dissect cell lineage relationships in the embryonic pancreas of mice, and disproved earlier misconceptions on the origin of -cells (Herrera, 2000; Desgraz & Herrera, 2009). His work provided crucial landmarks for stem cell-derived -cell diabetes therapies. He later discovered that the adult pancreas generates new insulin-producing cells after -cell loss (Thorel et al, 2010; Chera et al, 2014; Cigliola et al, 2018). This uncovers an astonishing cellular plasticity, for these cells are islet non--cells (-, - and -) that spontaneously reprogram to produce insulin. He has also shown that human non--cells can reprogram to become glucose-sensing insulin-secreting cells (Furuyama et al, 2019). Through his pioneering work, with elegant approaches to research, he opens unexpected therapeutic perspectives to treat diabetes and other degenerative diseases resulting from premature cell loss.
Université de Genéve
Re-programming the human alpha cell