nPOD Welcome

Welcome to the 14th Annual JDRF nPOD Scientific Meeting!

We are thankful that you made it a priority to join us at this meeting and for all of your efforts to make nPOD a success. From some 20 attendees at our first meeting to over 300 registered attendees for our first-ever virtual scientific session in 2021, nPOD’s Annual Meeting has seen tremendous interest over the years. We are especially excited to welcome you “in person” this year to Atlantic Beach, FL. For many of us, this may be our first face to face meeting since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize that the past two years have been challenging in many ways and we are grateful to have this time to catch up with our friends and colleagues.

The nPOD team has assembled a scientific program that is as inclusive as possible, allowing all of us to share our collective progress and discoveries. In this setting, we would like to acknowledge the critical contributions of nPOD staff, the nPOD SAB, nPOD Investigators, and the working groups who together, make nPOD so unique. With their guidance and collective input and participation, nPOD will continue to change the conversation in type 1 diabetes research.

We would also like to acknowledge the gracious financial support provided to this year’s meeting by KRONUS, Inc., Provention Biosciences, and ALPCO. Beyond this, we would like to acknowledge the longstanding support nPOD has received from JDRF, effectively forming an intellectual partnership with nPOD. The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has also been a key funder for nPOD through their interest and participation in our annual meeting. In addition, the Helmsley Charitable Trust provides critical support for nPOD research through the George S. Eisenbarth nPOD Award for Team Science, which is used to fund nPOD investigators and collaborative nPOD working groups.

This year’s scientific meeting is packed with informative and perhaps, on occasion, contentious sessions on T1D research and discovery. Please know that in the months leading up to this meeting, we have been monitoring the notion of safety and are following CDC and local guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that the meeting format will continue to afford a great opportunity for scientific interaction.

You, the nPOD investigators, continue to publish in journals of high impact, and “standards” from nPOD related activities have been established. Most importantly, nPOD studies performed by you are changing our understanding of how type 1 diabetes develops. We are confident this will lead to improved therapies for this disease. For that, we extend our thanks. We look forward to an exciting meeting.


JDRF Welcome

Dear nPOD Annual Meeting Attendees:

Thank you for participating in the 14th Annual Network for Pancreatic Organ donors with Diabetes (nPOD) Annual Scientific Meeting.

JDRF has a long history of bringing together investigators worldwide to share data and ideas and chart pathways to advances in type 1 diabetes (T1D) research and development. Your participation in events that foster T1D research holds the potential to benefit millions of people across the globe, and we are very grateful for all of your excellent work. Whether this is your first time at the nPOD Meeting or your 14th, you will find these days enlightening and meaningful as you continue our shared quest—a world without T1D.

It’s bittersweet for me not to be able to join the meeting and be there with you to hear about your progress. As a scientist, I look forward to your ideas and addressing the gaps where JDRF can invest in accelerating the field forward. I know that you will share some of the latest advances and research projects as we race for cures for T1D. nPOD has played such a pivotal role in our understanding of pathogenesis and supporting new therapeutic approaches to cure T1D. I can’t wait to hear a summary of the meeting.

I wish you a stimulating, gratifying and successful conference. May it lead to innovative strategies, improved understanding, new collaborations and partnerships, and transformative research. Thank you for supporting our mission.





Aaron J. Kowalski, Ph.D.

Helmsley Welcome

On behalf of The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, thank you for attending the 14th Annual nPOD Scientific Meeting. Your ongoing commitment to understanding and treating type 1 diabetes (T1D) is helping make a difference in the life of people living with T1D. A major goal of Helmsley’s T1D Program is to delay or prevent this burdensome and life-threatening disease, a goal that cannot be achieved without cutting-edge research such as the work that you and your fellow nPOD scientists are conducting.

For over seven years, Helmsley’s T1D Program has been delighted to support the nPOD community in fulfilling nPOD’s vision of collaborative, innovate, and high-impact T1D research. Helmsley’s funding supports broadly nPOD’s work and infrastructure as well as the George S. Eisenbarth nPOD Award for Team Science. This award has supported the community’s collaborative infrastructure and research activities. The funding also offers pilot awards –18 projects to date – to support individual investigators asking novel and bold questions using nPOD samples.

We at Helmsley see ourselves as partners with you and the entire nPOD community. We also share a common philosophy that studies of human tissue will reveal new ways to prevent and treat a relentless disease that affects millions. Thank you again for all that you do for those with T1D.

We wish you a productive and successful meeting and look forward to working with all of you.

Warmest regards,


Gina Agiostratidou, PhD, MBA

Program Director

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

Maryaline Coffre, PhD

Associate Program Officer

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

History & Mission of nPOD

The Network for Pancreatic Organ donors with Diabetes (nPOD) is a collaborative type 1 diabetes research project funded by JDRF. nPOD supports approved scientific Investigators by providing, without cost, rare and difficult to obtain tissues beneficial to their research. nPOD began as a feasibility pilot project in 2007, and as of February 2016, supports upwards of 170 type 1 diabetes-related scientific studies at institutions around the world. Approved Investigators can participate in the nPOD program, even if they do not have outside funding to support their scientific research. nPOD actively promotes data sharing, collaboration and team science approaches, and, as of 2015, can support approved projects through the Helmsley Charitable Trust George S. Eisenbarth nPOD Award for Team Science.

nPOD strives to maintain a network of procuring and characterizing, in a collaborative manner, pancreata and related tissues (spleen, lymph nodes, pancreatic lymph nodes, peripheral blood, thymus, bone marrow, skin) from cadaveric organ donors in the following donor groups:

  1. Type 1 diabetes – These donors are potentially the key to helping our scientific Investigators unlock the disease process in type 1 diabetes, and answer fundamental questions about the autoimmune process that leads to the destruction of the insulin producing pancreatic beta cells.
  2. Type 1 diabetes-related autoantibody positive, but no clinical symptoms of the disease – These donors will help scientists study the autoimmune process at the very earliest stages of beta cell destruction.
  3. History of pancreas transplant and type 1 diabetes – These donors improve our understanding of islet autoimmunity and its evolution, and how this may be related to poorly understood mechanisms of pancreas regeneration/remodeling, and how both autoimmunity and regeneration may be affected by chronic immunosuppression.
  4. Type 2 diabetes – These donors serve as a control for hyperglycemia and other disease processes relating to beta cell dysfunction, which are also be relevant to type 1 diabetes.
  5. Persons without diabetes – These donors serve as normal control type when compared to other donor sets.

Utilizing these high quality (i.e., transplant grade) tissues, Investigators work together to address key immunological, histological, viral, and metabolic questions and generate a comprehensive analysis of human type 1 diabetes, leading to a cure for the disease. nPOD works closely with Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) to recover organs and tissues of interest. Inclusion and exclusion criteria are updated as necessary, based on feedback from the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and Investigator needs. The nPOD website ( provides additional information about the project and research efforts currently supported by nPOD, which are also listed in this booklet.

2021 Annual Meeting Highlights

The Network for Pancreatic Organ donors with Diabetes (nPOD) welcomes you to the 13th Annual Scientific Meeting. Throughout the years, nPOD has promoted a collaborative environment and an interactive venue in its annual meeting. This year’s meeting will be a virtual scientific conference, and much like previous years, this year’s meeting aims at continuing that tradition, with emphasis on understanding type 1 diabetes. We hope participants will find this year’s virtual scientific session intellectually stimulating and rewarding.



The meeting will be shorter than usual and held over a 3-day period. Each day, the effective meeting time is about 4 hours. The meeting will typically have 2 main sessions daily, 90 minutes each, with a 30-minute break between the sessions. All sessions include a 30-minute discussion involving chairs, speakers, invited discussants, and you! Some exceptions to this format are described in the agenda.

Day 1 (2/22/2021)

  • T1D Pathology Studies Across Natural History
  • Panel Discussion on T1D Pathology Studies Across Natural History
  • Oral Abstract Presentations

Day 2 (2/23/2021)

  • Beta Cells in Type 1 Diabetes
  • Panel Discussion on Beta Cells in Type 1 Diabetes
  • COVID-19, Pancreas & Diabetes
  • Panel Discussion on COVID-19, Pancreas & Diabetes

Day 3 (2/24/2021)

  • A Special Presentation for Junior Investigators
  • nPOD and Industry Research
  • Panel Discussion on nPOD and Industry Research
  • T1D Immunology – TCR Studies
  • Panel Discussion on T1D Immunology – TCR Studies
  • Late-breaking Abstract Presentations

Poster Presentation Session

  • Abstracts selected for poster presentation will be showcased on the first and second day of the event. Poster presentations will occur concurrently from 3:00 – 4:00 PM.

For our Junior Investigators, a special session by Dr. Maggie Morris Fears (NIH Chief Scientific Review Officer) will be held on the morning of the last day (2/24/21). Be sure to catch her discussion on “NIH Peer Review: Guidance, questions, and answers”

We are delighted by the enthusiasm and willingness of many to present at the nPOD meeting. We received 52 abstracts, including 18 submitted as late-breaking. Given the reduced time available, 16 abstracts were selected for oral presentation during the main sessions.