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JDRF Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes

Visit the JDRF nPOD website

The Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes (nPOD) program, supported by JDRF at the University of Florida, is the world’s largest open research consortium dedicated to the study of the human pancreas.

Founded in 2007, the JDRF nPOD biorepository housed at the University of Florida supports the collection of pancreata and related tissues from organ donors with type 1 diabetes (T1D)  which are made available to scientific investigators around the world including in the U.S., England, Finland, Canada and Australia. Learn more »

With nearly $3 million in annual program funding, nPOD researchers are conducting more than 150 studies that seek to unlock the mysteries of type 1 diabetes. Investigators hope to address the most pressing questions related to how the disease 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 medical imaging.

Thanks to nPOD, I think we’re at the precipice 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.

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 and identify new therapeutic targets.

nPOD Research Update

In a recent study, UF researcher Martha Campbell-Thompson and colleagues reported that organ donors who had lived with type 1 diabetes had smaller pancreas weights than their counterparts – up to 46 percent smaller. This important discovery is key to understanding the trajectory of the disease and may one day help lead to interventions to prevent it. More »

UF researchers: Understanding pancreas weight may help unlock cause of Type 1 diabetes

Becoming an Organ Donor

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 0-30, and are not diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

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

Phone: (352) 273-8277 | Toll Free: 866-731-6585

nPOD Staff at the University of Florida

  • Mark Atkinson, Ph.D. – JDRF-nPOD Executive Director
  • Alberto Pugliese, M.D. – JDRF-nPOD co-Executive Director
  • Mingder Yang. Ph.D., JDRF-nPOD Director
  • Irina Kusmartseva, Ph.D. – Director of the Organ Procurement and Pathology Core
  • Teresa Keppel – JDRF-nPOD Program Assistant

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. 
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
1275 Center Drive, BMSB Rm J586
PO Box 100275
Gainesville, FL 32610-0275

Phone: (352) 273-8277
Toll Free: 866-731-6585