Bridget Wagner leads a group studying pancreatic cell biology and metabolic disease in the Chemical Biology Program. She focuses on the death of insulin-secreting beta cells, the hallmark of type 1 diabetes. People with this form of diabetes depend on insulin injections to stay alive because their immune systems attack beta cells as foreign invaders. Some treatments aimed at beta cells have shown promise, but Wagner’s goal is to create a chemical intervention that could restore the full population of beta cells.
Wagner’s group is developing cell-based assays based on what goes wrong in type 1 diabetes. They hope to find chemical compounds that might work in three different strategies: to increase beta-cell proliferation, to protect beta cells from a misguided immune response, and to induce other cells in the pancreas to transdifferentiate, enabling them to take over the role of beta cells by producing insulin themselves.
Wagner joined the Broad in 2003. She received a bachelor’s degree in biochemical sciences at Harvard College and a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from Harvard University.Select Publications
Wagner BK et al. Small-molecule inducers of insulin expression in pancreatic α-cells. Proceeding of the National Academies of Science of the USA 2010;107:15099-15104.
Wagner BK et al. Small-molecule suppressors of cytokine-induced beta-cell apoptosis. ACS Chemical Biology 2010;5:729-734.
Wagner BK. Grand Challenge Commentary: Chemical transdifferentiation and regenerative medicine. Nature Chemical Biology 2010;6:877-879.