Bioengineering the Pancreas
Developing Novel Regenerative Therapies to Address Type 1 Diabetes
Department of Science and Biotechnology
Berkeley City College
California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences
Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences
University of California San Francisco
Research Triangle MRSEC
This case study applies problem-based learning to the field of biotechnology. Students assume the role of newly-hired bioengineers at a fictitious biotech company, Bio-Art. Students work individually to complete background research in the basic biology of the pancreas, the disease state of diabetes, and current treatment strategies. After group discussion, students are introduced to cell transplantation as a strategy to treat type 1 diabetes. Pros and cons of cell transplantation are discussed and students conduct further research into current strategies to improve cell transplant longevity. Finally, students are introduced to various methods of cell encapsulation. Students then form small groups, discuss the pros and cons of each method, and work in teams to design and present their final product that improves upon one method of cell encapsulation. This case study was designed for upper division undergraduate course on biomaterials for regenerative medicine, but it would also be appropriate for graduate or undergraduate courses in biomedical engineering and bioengineering, particularly to teach design of biomedical devices.
- Identify and summarize the basic biology of the pancreas and the disease type I diabetes.
- Identify and summarize the effect of type I diabetes on the pancreas.
- Use PubMed to find scientific articles that describe the biology of the pancreas and type I diabetes.
- List and describe current therapies available to treat type I diabetes.
- Evaluate and discuss the pros and cons of cell transplantation as a therapy for diabetes.
- Evaluate and discuss the pros and cons of xenograft transplantation.
- Use PubMed to find scientific articles that describe strategies that can mitigate the shortcomings of xenograft transplantation.
- Summarize the method of cell encapsulation as a strategy for immunoisolation.
- Evaluate and discuss the pros and cons of different cell encapsulation strategies.
- Design a novel cell encapsulation strategy as a therapy for type I diabetes.
Keywordstissue engineering; bioengineering; diabetes; cell encapsulation; biomaterials; pancreas; xenograft; immunoisolation; xenotransplantation; islet transplantation
Topical AreasRegulatory issues
Educational LevelUndergraduate upper division, Graduate
Type / MethodsDiscussion, Problem-Based Learning, Role-Play, Student Presentations
Subject HeadingsBiology (General) | Biomedical Engineering | Biotechnology |