Among the projects underway in Niland’s lab are the following studies:
Principal Investigator, Human Islet Research Network (HIRN) Coordinating Center
City of Hope serves as the HIRN Coordinating Center (CC), to support HIRN’s goal of developing innovative strategies for the treatment, prevention and cure of type 1 diabete. The HIRN-CC provides critical infrastructure to promote communication and collaboration among current and future HIRN participants, facilitating scientific advances and fostering the sharing of data, tools and reagents among HIRN members and the research community at large.
Co-principal Investigator, Human Islet Research Network Bioinformatics Center
To accelerate progress in understanding and treating type 1 diabetes (T1D), relevant biological data must be organized, exchanged and analyzed efficiently, a challenging and high-priority need. To accomplish this goal, Dr. Niland and her team are building upon City of Hope’s expertise and experience in biomedical informatics to establish the Human Islet Research Network Bioinformatics Center (HIRN-BC) within the Department of Research Information Sciences at City of Hope. The overall objective of the HIRN BC is to advance T1D knowledge generated through HIRN by providing the bioinformatics capability and infrastructure needed to support this consortium for the next five years and beyond. The BC provides data collaboration and communication tools to address the aforementioned barriers to informatics support for diabetes research.
Principal Investigator, Helmsley Charitable Trust Conference Grant
The Human Islet Research Network (HIRN) focuses on research that will lead to a greater understanding of the early stages of the type 1 diabetes disease process in humans. This conference grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust will facilitate HIRN investigators’ participation in the annual meeting and scientific retreat, allowing them to collaborate and advance their work.
Principal Investigator, Intestinal Stem Cell Consortium Coordinating Center and Pilot Projects
The scientific goals of the Intestinal Stem Cell Consortium are to:
isolate, characterize, culture and validate populations of intestinal stem cells;
answer major questions in stem-cell biology of the intestinal epithelium and
accelerate research by making information and resources available to the research community. Long-term goals include: 1) to contribute to greater understanding of stem-cell biology through knowledge of the intestine as a model stem cell-driven system, and 2) lay the groundwork for therapeutic manipulation of the intestinal epithelium.
Principal Investigator, Integrated Islet Distribution Program (IIDP)
The IIDP serves the biomedical research community by providing investigators with access to human islets to enhance knowledge of islet cell biology. Project goals include:
to establish a coordinating center that provides for the distribution of human cadaveric islets for laboratory research,
to assure continued islet availability to the medical research community and
to develop and maintain a financial system that both collects and disburses respective receivables and expenditures.
For this project, Dr. Niland led the development of a unique automated web-based islet distribution system that optimizes the availability of high-quality islets for approved investigators nationwide, and monitors and balances the supply-and-demand ratio.