Farnsworth Lab

Welcome to the Farnsworth Lab! We are a group of interdisciplinary researchers with focuses on biomaterials, quantitative optical imaging, and cell biology. The main goal of our research is to develop biomaterial scaffolds to investigate cellular interactions with their environment and to harness this information to develop therapies using drug delivery or tissue engineering strategies to combat life-threatening diseases. Our research primarily focuses on type 1 diabetes (T1D), which is characterized by the progressive destruction of the insulin-producing β-cells in the pancreatic islets of Langerhans by activated immune cells. The goals of the current research projects in the lab are to 1) understand the role of extracellular matrix interactions in cellular death and dysfunction during the onset and progression of T1D, 2) identify novel mechanisms leading to pancreatic islet dysfunction and death during the pathogenesis of T1D, and 3) develop targeted drug delivery therapies which preserve islet function and mass after the onset of disease. This research combines novel biomimetic scaffold design with advanced live-cell imaging techniques to provide quantitative insight into pancreatic islet function and disease development. The discoveries that we make will ultimately help to improve therapies for patients with T1D.