Kevin Docherty is the MacLeod Smith Professor of Biochemistry at the Institute of Medical Sciences at University of Aberdeen. He originally worked on proinsulin biosynthesis and processing before focusing on the transcription factors that control insulin gene expression. His group was the first to identify and characterise a beta-cell specific transcription factor (known as PDX1) that bound to multiple sites in the human insulin gene and was a major player in controlling expression of the gene. He then used his understanding of pancreatic transcription factors to develop protocols for the efficient differentiation of human embryonic stem cells towards pancreatic lineages. More recently, he has developed a successful protocol for the ex vivo reprogramming of exocrine tissue towards functional human beta-cells. His reprograming work is currently being assessed for potential preclinical trials as an alternative source of islet tissue for transplantation in the treatment of type 1 diabetes. This is being achieved through a consortium that includes the Cell Therapy Catapult, The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, The University of Edinburgh and the University of Aberdeen.
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