Gallego-Perez extends regenerative medicine technology to diabetes

Posted: October 12, 2020

Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor Daniel Gallego-Perez has received a one-year, $736,000 grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to expand his tissue nanotransfection research.

Gallego-Perez (center) demonstrating TNT technology in his lab with Asst. Prof. Natalia Higuita-Castro and former graduate research assistant Alec Sunyecz

Tissue nanotransfection (TNT) uses silicon nanochannels and electric fields to rapidly—around 100 milliseconds—deliver ample amounts of gene copies into tissues to reprogram cells. Previously, Ohio State researchers, including Gallego-Perez, reported that TNT can be used to deliver reprogramming genes into mouse skin to induce vasculogenic and neurogenic reprogramming in vivo.

“Here we are proposing to leverage this novel nanotechnology for the development of next-generation therapies for diabetes,” said Gallego-Perez.

He will work with College of Medicine Associate Professor Kristin Stanford on reprogramming skin tissue into brown adipose tissue for the treatment of obesity. Brown adipose tissue, or brown fat, is one of two types of fat in humans and other mammals. Sometimes called “good” fat, its primary function is heat regulation and several studies suggest it also plays a role in weight regulation.

On a parallel path, Gallego-Perez will collaborate with University of Chicago Professor of Medicine Raghavendra Mirmira, an international leader in Type 1 diabetes research, on reprogramming skin tissue into insulin-producing tissue.

According to Gallego-Perez, there currently are no examples of non-viral insulinogenic and adipogenic reprogramming of skin.

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