The generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) directly from adult cells, pioneered by Shinya Yamanaka’s lab in 2006, has inspired me the most. Yamanaka’s group successfully reprogrammed adult fibroblasts into iPSCs using just four genes OCT4, SOX2, KLF4, and C-MYC. This discovery was phenomenal as it holds much potential for disease modelling, drug development and organ synthesis. Currently, I am seeking to establish the use of patient-derived iPSCs as a platform to model monogenic diabetes. As human pancreatic tissues are not readily available for research, human iPSCs can provide an unlimited supply of differentiated pancreatic cells. Therefore, the differentiation of patient-derived iPSCs into pancreatic cells can serve as a good experimental model to characterize and elucidate the molecular pathways that underlie the disease, hence facilitating the discovery of potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of diabetes.
Blaise Low, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore