Human and Large Animal Islet Isolation

The CCTI Islet Core is a campus-based lab that is committed to providing the highest quality human and large animal islets to support the local diabetes research community. Expert personnel familiar with clinical islet transplantation will perform the technically challenging isolation of islets and can predictably provide islets that are high in quantity, quality, and purity. The Islet Core also offers crude digests or non-islet cells of pancreatic tissue from deceased human pancreas donors, non-human primates, and pigs for research. The Core will coordinate and provide islets to investigators when research need matches the availability of a human research pancreas or a prearranged large animal islet experiment. The CCTI Islet Core is growing, expanding collaborations with and providing training to clinical islet isolation technicians and diabetes researchers in NYC for pancreas tissue processing and islet function analyses.


The Core also provides training and expert advice in isolation and culture of pancreatic islets, as well as ex vivo analyses of islet cell viability, function, and islet equivalence calculation. Moreover, the Core can provide advice on streptozotocin induction of diabetes and transplantation of islets in mice.

The Core offers training in:

  • Human and mouse islet isolation
  • Islet culture techniques
  • In vitro islet glucose challenge using the static incubation approach
  • Islet viability testing (FDA/PI)
  • Determining islet insulin, glucagon, and DNA content
  • Sub-renal capsular or intra-portal Islet transplantation in mice
  • Graft retrieval for morphology and other determinations


The philosophy of the Islet Core is to provide access to large animal and human research islets in a highly efficient and economical fashion. Recharge rates are reviewed and approved by the Columbia Recharge Office. Rates are available by contacting Dr. Xiaojuan Chen.


  1. Pomposelli T, Wang, P, Takeuchi K, Miyake K, Ariyoshi Y, Watanabe H, Chen X, Shimizu A, Robertson N, Yamada K, Moore A. Protection of Pancreatic Islets Using Theranostic Silencing Nanoparticles in a Baboon Model of Islet Transplantation. Diabetes. 2020, 69(11):2414-22
  2. Weisberg S, Carpenter DJ, Chait M, Dogra P, Chen AX, Saraf P, Snyder ME, Campbell S, Liu W, Kubota M, Danzl NM, Schrope BA, Rabadan R, Saenger Y, Chen X, Farber D. 2019, Tissue-resident memory T cells mediate immune homeostasis in the human pancreas through the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway. Cell Reports 29:3916-3932; PMID: 31851923
  3. Liu W, Kin T, Ho S, Dorrell C, Campbell SR, Luo P, Chen X*. Abnormal regulation of glucagon secretion by human islet alpha cells in the absence of beta cells. EBioMedicine. 2019 Dec;50:306-316.  Epub 2019 Nov 26. PubMed PMID: 31780397; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6921359.