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JDRF Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes

nPODSupported by JDRF at the University of Florida — the Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes (nPOD) program represents the largest consortium dedicated entirely to the study of the human pancreas.

Founded at the University of Florida in 2007, the nPOD biorepository supports the collection of pancreata and related tissues from organ donors with type 1 diabetes (T1D). These tissues are then made available to scientific investigators at international T1D centers in the U.S., England, Finland, Canada and Australia who are conducting over 120 current research studies.  Learn more »

With nearly $3 million in annual program funding, nPOD projects are broad in scope. Researchers hope to address the most fundamental and pressing questions related to how T1D develops and progresses including, but not limited to the immunopathology of T1D, beta cell physiology and dysfunction, pancreas development, beta cell regeneration, environmental factors and imaging.

I think we’re at the precipice, thanks to nPOD, of being able to change much of what’s been put into textbooks and review articles on type 1 diabetes in terms of how the disease develops and what are its potential causes.” — Mark Atkinson, Ph.D., Eminent Scholar for Diabetes Research at the University of Florida and nPOD executive director


The Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes (nPOD) has three main goals:

  • Obtain specimens from organ donors with T1D and establish a research resource of pancreas and disease relevant tissues (pancreatic lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, blood, and other) from organ donors with T1D, obtained at any point after clinical diagnosis, or during the prediabetes phase, when islet autoimmunity silently leads to beta cell destruction (donors identified by screening for islet autoantibodies);
  • Distribute specimens to JDRF-nPOD scientists, anywhere in the world, for comprehensive and diversified investigations of human T1D;
  • Promote collaboration, by using tissue- and real-time data-sharing, and by developing and managing synergistic project interactions as well as focused working groups, all to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of human T1D.

Campbell-Thompson-to-useUF nPOD investigator’s ‘unprecendented’ T1D discovery

In 2013, University of Florida nPOD investigator Martha Campbell-Thompson, D.V.M., Ph.D. and her team discovered that organ donors who lived with diabetes had smaller pancreas weights than their counterparts. This important finding is key to understanding the trajectory of the disease and may one day help lead to interventions to prevent it.

Learn more: nPOD News Update: February 2013 

Organ Donation

JDRF–nPOD investigators are continually humbled by the decision families make to contribute to type 1 diabetes research through the gift of organ donation. While we make every effort to honor the wishes of the donor family, we cannot accept all donations. At this time, the following groups of donor gifts are of particular importance:

  • Donors with longstanding type 1 diabetes;
  • Donors with recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes (less than seven years duration);
  • Donors who are positive for type 1 diabetes autoantibodies, are between the ages of 0-45, and are not diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

For more information on organ donation, e-mail or visit the JDRF nPOD website.

nPOD Staff at the University of Florida

  • Mark Atkinson, Ph.D. – JDRF-nPOD Executive Director
  • Martha Campbell-Thompson, D.V.M, Ph.D. – Director of the Organ Procurement and Pathology Core
  • Suzanne Ball, R.N., M.H.S., JDRF-nPOD Director
  • Irina Kusmartseva, Ph.D. – JDRF-nPOD Lab Director
  • Teresa Miller – JDRF-nPOD Program Assistant
  • Jayne Moraski, M.S. – JDRF-nPOD Assistant Director
  • Mingder Yang, Ph.D. – JDRF-nPOD Investigator Relationship Coordinator

Current nPOD Investigators at the University of Florida

Mark Atkinson, Ph.D. – JDRF nPOD Executive Director

Projects: Quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the endocrine & exocrine pancreas in type 1 diabetes; Beta cell regeneration for Type 1 diabetes; De-differentiation during progression of beta cell loss in type 1 diabetes; Pancreatic Immunologic and Metabolic Parameters; Diabetes and Pancreatic Cancers: Pilot study with molecular profiling; Human pancreatic tissue proteome of type 1 diabetes; Pancreatic duct glands in type 1 diabetes

Todd Brusko, Ph.D.

Project: Molecular Signature of Autoimmune T cells in Type 1 Diabetes and Treg TCR deep sequencing. Detect Cd226+ Treg and Teff ininsulitis patient samples


Martha Campbell-Thompson, D.V.M., Ph.D. – Director of the Organ Procurement and Pathology Core

Projects: Beta cell regeneration for Type 1 Diabetes; Diabetes and Pancreatic Cancers: Pilot study with molecular profiling; Mapping the histopathological landscape of human T1D: a pilot study (CLARITY)


Mitchell Knutson, Ph.D.

Project: Molecular mechanisms of iron uptake by pancreatic beta cells and their contribution to the development of diabetes


Joe Larkin, Ph.D.

Project: Dynamic Survey of T Cell Repertoire Targeting Pancreatic Beta Cells


Clayton Mathews, Ph.D.

Project: Islet resistance to T1D



Clive Wasserfall, M.S.

Projects: Beta cell regeneration for Type 1 Diabetes; Humoral Immunity in Type 1 Diabetes; UF Autoantibody Core



Shannon Wallet, Ph.D.

Projects: Characterization of Mesencymal Stem Cells in T1D; Role of mucosal epithelium in autoreactivity

Contact Information:

For research, press and media inquiries,  contact:

University of Florida, College of Medicine

1329 SW 16th Street, Room 4230

PO Box 100275

Gainesville, FL 32608-1128

Phone: (352) 273-8277