JDRF Announces the Appointment of David M. Harlan, MD, as Director of the JDRF Center of Excellence in New England

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 10:50 AM EDT

NEW YORK and BOSTON , June 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- JDRF, the leading global type 1 diabetes (T1D) research and advocacy organization, together with UMass Chan Medical School announces the appointment of David M. Harlan, MD, the William and Doris Krupp Professor of Medicine, professor of medicine and co-director of the Diabetes Center of Excellence, as the new director of the JDRF Center of Excellence in New England.

JDRF (PRNewsFoto/JDRF)(PRNewswire)

"For many years, JDRF has supported the collaborative work of Dr. Harlan and his colleagues in the Greater New England area," says Esther Latres, PhD, JDRF Assistant Vice President of Research. "Under Dr. Harlan's leadership, we anticipate continued progress toward a cure for type 1 diabetes using stem-cell derived beta cell and islet therapies."

For nearly 40 years, Dr. Harlan has been conducting research exploring the pathophysiology underlying diabetes. Dr. Harlan also brings years of experience as an endocrinologist with expertise in diabetes and metabolism. A renowned basic and clinical investigator, his current research is focused on beta cell biology and the anti-beta cell immune response.

"For decades, clinician scientists like myself have been working to develop methods to safely interfere with the autoimmune response that targets the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreases of people with type 1 diabetes," said Dr. Harlan.  "Our group is working to genetically modify the beta cells to make them invulnerable to the immune system when infused into a person with type 1 diabetes."

The JDRF Center of Excellence in New England is part of a growing global network of research centers aimed at accelerating science in curing T1D and improving lives. Organized as a cross-institutional collaboration between leading experts from the UMass Chan Diabetes Center of Excellence, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Joslin Diabetes Center, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and the Jackson Laboratory, the Center of Excellence in New England focuses on exploring immune responses and applying cell engineering technologies to prevent rejection of highly functional islets by the immune system in the absence of immune suppression.

"We're testing these human cells in vivo in our unique biological models," added Dr. Harlan.  "The goal is to provide an islet cell replacement therapy that eliminates the need for immunosuppressant drugs with their inherent toxicities."

Dr. Harlan's tenure as head of the Center of Excellence begins immediately, taking over for Dr. Douglas Melton who announced he would be stepping down to join Vertex Pharmaceuticals as a Distinguished Fellow.

For more information about The JDRF Center of Excellence in New England please visit,

For more information about the JDRF Center of Excellence program, visit

About JDRF
JDRF's mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than $2.5 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout the United States and our five international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement, and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit jdrf.org or follow us on Twitter (@JDRF), Facebook (@myjdrf), and Instagram (@jdrfhq).

About UMass Chan Medical School and UMass Chan Diabetes Center of Excellence 
UMass Chan Medical School, one of five campuses of the University of Massachusetts system, comprises the T.H. Chan School of Medicine, the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing; a thriving research enterprise and an innovative public service initiative, Commonwealth Medicine. UMass Chan's mission is to advance the health and wellness of our diverse communities throughout Massachusetts and across the world by leading and innovating in education, research, health care delivery and public service. In doing so, it has built a reputation as a world-class research institution and as a leader in primary care education, perennially ranked in the top 10 percent of medical schools for primary care by U.S. News and World Report. UMass Chan attracts more than $400 million annually in research funding, placing it among the top 50 medical schools in the nation.  In 2021, the Medical School received a $175 million donation from The Morningside Foundation and was renamed the UMass Chan Medical School.

Under the co-direction of David M. Harlan, MD, and Dale L. Greiner, PhD, the UMass Chan Diabetes Center of Excellence combines cutting-edge diabetes research with the latest in comprehensive patient care. Visit umassmed.edu/dcoe to learn more.

About the Harvard Stem Cell Institute
The Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI), formed in 2004, brings together more than 1,000 scientists in the schools and affiliated hospitals of Harvard University. Its mission is to advance the understanding of human development and disease, support the discovery of stem cell-based therapies and cures for diseases, create collaborations across traditional institutional and disciplinary boundaries, and train the next generation of stem cell scientists. The HSCI funds novel research and fosters cross-discipline, cross-sector collaboration to accelerate discoveries that benefit humankind. Visit hsci.harvard.edu to learn more.

About Joslin Diabetes Center
Joslin Diabetes Center is world-renowned for its deep expertise in diabetes treatment and research. Joslin is dedicated to finding a cure for diabetes and ensuring that people with diabetes live long, healthy lives. We develop and disseminate innovative patient therapies and scientific discoveries throughout the world. Joslin is an independent, non-profit institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School, and one of only 16 NIH-designated Diabetes Research Centers in the U.S. For more information, visit www.joslin.org.

About The Jackson Laboratory
The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution with more than 2,300 employees. Headquartered in Bar Harbor, Maine, it has a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center, a genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Conn., and facilities in Ellsworth and Augusta, Maine, in Sacramento, Calif., and in Beijing and Shanghai, China. Its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health. For more information, please visit www.jax.org.

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