October 10, 2022

New York and San Francisco, October 10, 2022— Breakthrough T1D, the leading global type 1 diabetes (T1D) research and advocacy organization, together with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), announce the appointment of Qizhi Tang, Ph.D.professor of surgery and director of the UCSF Transplantation Research Laboratory, as the new co-director of the Breakthrough T1D Center of Excellence in Northern California. In her new role, Dr. Tang will co-lead the institution with Seung Kim, M.D., Ph.D., as the center works to deliver next-generation therapies and first-generation cures for T1D.

“Dr. Tang has been a key leader at the Breakthrough T1D Center of Excellence in Northern California since its inception,” said Esther Latres, Breakthrough T1D assistant vice president of research. “Her experience in immunology, clinical transplantation, and beta cell replacement therapy will be an added asset as the center expands. The combined leadership of Dr. Tang and Dr. Kim will undoubtedly accelerate research toward developing new approaches to generate highly functional islets and protect them from the immune system after transplantation.”

Dr. Tang joined the UCSF faculty in 2002 as an assistant professor of pathology and at the Diabetes Center, where she researched mechanisms of immune tolerance in mouse models of T1D. In 2007 Dr. Tang was appointed the director of the UCSF Transplantation Research Laboratory and joined the transplantation division in the Department of Surgery to lead basic and translational research in transplant immunology. In that role, she has built cross-disciplinary collaborative teams to rapidly translate laboratory discoveries into early-phase clinical trials.

“Dr. Tang is an outstanding, highly collaborative scientist and leader of scientific programs, and we are privileged to have her assume this important role,” said Dr. Seung Kim, M.D., Ph.D., Breakthrough T1D Center of Excellence in Northern California co-director. “Her focus on type 1 diabetes immune therapeutics and pathogenesis have been framed by productive studies, often at multiple institutions, and perfectly align with her leadership in the Center of Excellence. I am pleased to co-direct and collaborate with her.”

“A confluence of knowledge and technology makes this an exciting time for T1D research,” said Dr. Qizhi Tang. “The support of the Breakthrough T1D Center of Excellence allows us to recruit talents to translate these research advances into therapies for type 1 diabetes. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this effort.”

The Breakthrough T1D Center of Excellence in Northern California is a cure accelerator and high-impact partnership combining the scientific expertise of Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco, within the collaborative structure and support that are hallmarks of Breakthrough T1D. Investigators at the Center will seek to better understand and target the interactions between the immune system and beta cells, identify new strategies to protect these cells after transplantation, and deliver advanced stem cell-based cures for T1D.

Dr. Tang’s tenure as co-director of the Center of Excellence begins immediately, taking over for Dr. Matthias Hebrok, who has been appointed as founding chair of the Center for Organoid Systems and Tissue Engineering (COS) at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Director of the new Institute for Diabetes and Organoid Technology (IDOT) at the Helmholtz Center, Germany.

“I have enjoyed being at UCSF for more than 22 years, and it has been a privilege to help build and co-direct the Breakthrough T1D Center of Excellence in Northern California with the clear intent of finding new ways to treat patients living with type 1 diabetes,” said Dr. Hebrok.

Dr. Hebrok’s current research will continue under the leadership of Audrey Parent, Ph. D. assistant adjunct professor at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Parent has made seminal contributions to understanding how to generate and modify stem cell-derived beta cells to blunt the effects of the immune system.

For more information about The Breakthrough T1D Center of Excellence in Northern California, please visit, https://www.breakthrought1d.org/impact/research/centers-of-excellence/northern-california/

For more information about the Breakthrough T1D Center of Excellence program, visit https://www.breakthrought1d.org/impact/research/centers-of-excellence/ 


About Breakthrough T1D

JDRF’s mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, Breakthrough T1D has invested more than $2.5 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a global stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout the United States and our five international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement, and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit jdrf.org or follow us on Twitter (@JDRF), Facebook (@myjdrf), and Instagram (@jdrfhq).

About UCSF

University of California, San Francisco is the leading university exclusively focused on health. Through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in care delivery, UCSF is leading revolutions in health worldwide.

About Type 1 Diabetes (T1D)

T1D is an autoimmune condition that causes the pancreas to make very little insulin or none at all, leading to long-term complications which can include highs and lows in blood sugar; damage to the kidneys, eyes, nerves and heart; and even death if left untreated. It is one of the fastest-growing chronic health conditions. Many believe T1D is only diagnosed in childhood and early puberty, but diagnosis in adulthood is on the rise, and accounts for nearly 50% of all T1D diagnoses. The onset is sudden and nothing can be done to prevent it yet—it is not related to diet or lifestyle. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. There is currently no cure for T1D.