Education & Certifications

  • B.S., San Francisco State University, Cell and Molecular Biology (2014)

Lab Affiliations

All Publications

  • In vivo studies of glucagon secretion by human islets transplanted in mice NATURE METABOLISM Tellez, K., Hang, Y., Gu, X., Chang, C. A., Stein, R. W., Kim, S. K. 2020; 2 (6): 547-+
  • In vivo studies of glucagon secretion by human islets transplanted in mice. Nature metabolism Tellez, K., Hang, Y., Gu, X., Chang, C. A., Stein, R. W., Kim, S. K. 2020; 2 (6): 547–57


    Little is known about regulated glucagon secretion by human islet α-cells compared to insulin secretion from β-cells, despite conclusive evidence of dysfunction in both cell types in diabetes mellitus. Distinct insulins in humans and mice permit in vivo studies of human β-cell regulation after human islet transplantation in immunocompromised mice, whereas identical glucagon sequences prevent analogous in vivo measures of glucagon output from human α-cells. Here, we use CRISPR-Cas9 editing to remove glucagon codons 2-29 in immunocompromised NSG mice, preserving the production of other proglucagon-derived hormones. Glucagon knockout NSG (GKO-NSG) mice have metabolic, liver and pancreatic phenotypes associated with glucagon-signalling deficits that revert after transplantation of human islets from non-diabetic donors. Glucagon hypersecretion by transplanted islets from donors with type 2 diabetes revealed islet-intrinsic defects. We suggest that GKO-NSG mice provide an unprecedented resource to investigate human α-cell regulation in vivo.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s42255-020-0213-x

    View details for PubMedID 32694729

  • Ageing hallmarks exhibit organ-specific temporal signatures. Nature Schaum, N., Lehallier, B., Hahn, O., Pálovics, R., Hosseinzadeh, S., Lee, S. E., Sit, R., Lee, D. P., Losada, P. M., Zardeneta, M. E., Fehlmann, T., Webber, J. T., McGeever, A., Calcuttawala, K., Zhang, H., Berdnik, D., Mathur, V., Tan, W., Zee, A., Tan, M., Pisco, A. O., Karkanias, J., Neff, N. F., Keller, A., Darmanis, S., Quake, S. R., Wyss-Coray, T. 2020


    Ageing is the single greatest cause of disease and death worldwide, and understanding the associated processes could vastly improve quality of life. Although major categories of ageing damage have been identified-such as altered intercellular communication, loss of proteostasis and eroded mitochondrial function1-these deleterious processes interact with extraordinary complexity within and between organs, and a comprehensive, whole-organism analysis of ageing dynamics has been lacking. Here we performed bulk RNA sequencing of 17 organs and plasma proteomics at 10 ages across the lifespan of Mus musculus, and integrated these findings with data from the accompanying Tabula Muris Senis2-or 'Mouse Ageing Cell Atlas'-which follows on from the original Tabula Muris3. We reveal linear and nonlinear shifts in gene expression during ageing, with the associated genes clustered in consistent trajectory groups with coherent biological functions-including extracellular matrix regulation, unfolded protein binding, mitochondrial function, and inflammatory and immune response. Notably, these gene sets show similar expression across tissues, differing only in the amplitude and the age of onset of expression. Widespread activation of immune cells is especially pronounced, and is first detectable in white adipose depots during middle age. Single-cell RNA sequencing confirms the accumulation of T cells and B cells in adipose tissue-including plasma cells that express immunoglobulin J-which also accrue concurrently across diverse organs. Finally, we show how gene expression shifts in distinct tissues are highly correlated with corresponding protein levels in plasma, thus potentially contributing to the ageing of the systemic circulation. Together, these data demonstrate a similar yet asynchronous inter- and intra-organ progression of ageing, providing a foundation from which to track systemic sources of declining health at old age.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-020-2499-y

    View details for PubMedID 32669715

  • Molecular and genetic regulation of pig pancreatic islet cell development. Development (Cambridge, England) Kim, S., Whitener, R. L., Peiris, H., Gu, X., Chang, C. A., Lam, J. Y., Camunas-Soler, J., Park, I., Bevacqua, R. J., Tellez, K., Quake, S. R., Lakey, J. R., Bottino, R., Ross, P. J., Kim, S. K. 2020


    Reliance on rodents for understanding pancreatic genetics, development and islet function could limit progress in developing interventions for human diseases like diabetes mellitus. Similarities of pancreas morphology and function suggest that porcine and human pancreas developmental biology may have useful homologies. However, little is known about pig pancreas development. To fill this knowledge gap, we investigated fetal and neonatal pig pancreas at multiple, crucial developmental stages using modern experimental approaches. Purification of islet β-, α- and δ-cells followed by transcriptome analysis (RNA-Seq) and immunohistology identified cell- and stage-specific regulation, and revealed that pig and human islet cells share characteristic features not observed in mice. Morphometric analysis also revealed endocrine cell allocation and architectural similarities between pig and human islets. Our analysis unveiled scores of signaling pathways linked to native islet β-cell functional maturation, including evidence of fetal α-cell GLP-1 production and signaling to β-cells. Thus, the findings and resources detailed here show how pig pancreatic islet studies complement other systems for understanding the developmental programs that generate functional islet cells, and that are relevant to human pancreatic diseases.

    View details for DOI 10.1242/dev.186213

    View details for PubMedID 32108026

  • Single-cell transcriptomics of 20 mouse organs creates a Tabula Muris. Nature 2018; 562 (7727): 367–72


    Here we present a compendium of single-cell transcriptomic data from the model organism Mus musculus that comprises more than 100,000 cells from 20 organs and tissues. These data represent a new resource for cell biology, reveal gene expression in poorly characterized cell populations and enable the direct and controlled comparison of gene expression in cell types that are shared between tissues, such as T lymphocytes and endothelial cells from different anatomical locations. Two distinct technical approaches were used for most organs: one approach, microfluidic droplet-based 3'-end counting, enabled the survey of thousands of cells at relatively low coverage, whereas the other, full-length transcript analysis based on fluorescence-activated cell sorting, enabled the characterization of cell types with high sensitivity and coverage. The cumulative data provide the foundation for an atlas of transcriptomic cell biology.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-018-0590-4

    View details for PubMedID 30283141

  • A radial axis defined by semaphorin-to-neuropilin signaling controls pancreatic islet morphogenesis. Development (Cambridge, England) Pauerstein, P. T., Tellez, K., Willmarth, K. B., Park, K. M., Hsueh, B., Efsun Arda, H., Gu, X., Aghajanian, H., Deisseroth, K., Epstein, J. A., Kim, S. K. 2017; 144 (20): 3744–54


    The islets of Langerhans are endocrine organs characteristically dispersed throughout the pancreas. During development, endocrine progenitors delaminate, migrate radially and cluster to form islets. Despite the distinctive distribution of islets, spatially localized signals that control islet morphogenesis have not been discovered. Here, we identify a radial signaling axis that instructs developing islet cells to disperse throughout the pancreas. A screen of pancreatic extracellular signals identified factors that stimulated islet cell development. These included semaphorin 3a, a guidance cue in neural development without known functions in the pancreas. In the fetal pancreas, peripheral mesenchymal cells expressed Sema3a, while central nascent islet cells produced the semaphorin receptor neuropilin 2 (Nrp2). Nrp2 mutant islet cells developed in proper numbers, but had defects in migration and were unresponsive to purified Sema3a. Mutant Nrp2 islets aggregated centrally and failed to disperse radially. Thus, Sema3a-Nrp2 signaling along an unrecognized pancreatic developmental axis constitutes a chemoattractant system essential for generating the hallmark morphogenetic properties of pancreatic islets. Unexpectedly, Sema3a- and Nrp2-mediated control of islet morphogenesis is strikingly homologous to mechanisms that regulate radial neuronal migration and cortical lamination in the developing mammalian brain.

    View details for PubMedID 28893946