Bursting the bubble: Novel ultrasound imaging diagnostics and targeted therapies for type1 diabetes.

Richard KP Benninger, Ph.D.

Professor of Bioengineering and Pediatrics

Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes

University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus

Seminar Information

Seminar Date
April 26, 2024 - 2:00 PM

The FUNG Auditorium - PFBH



Ultrasound imaging modalities provide many advantages including cost-effectiveness, widespread deployment, non-ionizing radiation and real-time imaging. Microbubble contrast agents are used widely in diagnostic imaging for multiple indications. I will present our latest work developing and applying novel ultrasound contrast agents towards guiding immunotherapies for the type1 diabetes prevention. Type1 diabetes is the most common chronic disease in children, arising from the autoimmune destruction of insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. As a result, lifelong insulin therapy is required, yet elevated risks for diabetic complications and hypoglycemia remain. Immune therapies for diabetes prevention have recently been approved, however there is a lack of approaches that can effectively guide these therapeutic interventions. I will first cover our development of contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging protocols to track the progression of autoimmunity and predict the progression to diabetes in both animal models and an ongoing clinical study. I will then present the development and application of novel ultrasound contrast agents designed to enhance the sensitivity for predicting diabetes progression, to guide and assess therapeutic interventions. I will finish with our work using sub-micron bubbles for the targeted delivery and controlled release of immunomodulatory agents within the pancreas microenvironment.

Speaker Bio

Dr Benninger received his PhD in Physics from Imperial College London and then completed postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt University in the laboratory of David Piston in Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. He became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz medical campus in 2011, establishing his laboratory at the Barbara Davis center for childhood diabetes. His research has focused on applying imaging technologies and biophysical approaches towards understanding how emergent multicellular dynamics govern how insulin and glucagon secretion from the endocrine pancreas coordinates energy metabolism. He research has also focused on developing imaging diagnostics for type1 diabetes, the focus for his talk today. Dr Benninger is also excited about promoting research and training at the interface between bioengineering and diabetes research.