David Harlan
Last active: 10/12/2016


For over 25 years, I have conducted both basic and clinical research exploring the pathophysiology underlying diabetes. My efforts have spanned from epidemiological studies relating to patient outcomes following pancreas transplantation, to clinical trials (islet transplantation, immunotherapy trials, and efforts attempting to promote beta cell regeneration), to animal models using (as appropriate for the question being addressed) non-human primates or mice, to cellular (studying pancreatic beta cells and the islet inflammatory infiltrate underlying T1D), to molecular (gene expression studies, promoter analyses, insulin splice forms). In February 2010, I accepted an offer from the University of Massachusetts to serve as Co-Director of their recently established Diabetes Center of Excellence, and Chief of the Diabetes Division within the Department of Medicine. My current basic research focuses on better understanding of beta cell biology, testing techniques to block the immune mediated beta cell killing underlying T1D, and developing better diabetes care delivery models. My team has developed innovative techniques to sort human pancreatic islet endocrine cell subsets, including from donors with diabetes (T1D and T2D) to determine the transcriptome from those purified cells. We have also rejuvenated diabetes care at UMass, more than tripling clinic volume in 6 years, and developing novel communication tools to better engage patients in their own care.


The following timeline graph is generated from all co-authored publications.

Featured publications are shown below:

  1. End Sequence Analysis Toolkit (ESAT) expands the extractable information from single-cell RNA-seq data. Derr A, Yang C, Zilionis R, Sergushichev A, Blodgett DM, Redick S, Bortell R, Luban J, Harlan DM, Kadener S, Greiner DL, Klein A, Artyomov MN, Garber M (2016) Genome Res 26(10): 1397-1410
    › Primary publication · 27470110 (PubMed) · PMC5052061 (PubMed Central)
  2. Islet Transplantation for Hypoglycemia Unawareness/Severe Hypoglycemia: Caveat Emptor. Harlan DM (2016) Diabetes Care 39(7): 1072-4
    › Primary publication · 27330121 (PubMed)
  3. Pathogenic CD4 T cells in type 1 diabetes recognize epitopes formed by peptide fusion. Delong T, Wiles TA, Baker RL, Bradley B, Barbour G, Reisdorph R, Armstrong M, Powell RL, Reisdorph N, Kumar N, Elso CM, DeNicola M, Bottino R, Powers AC, Harlan DM, Kent SC, Mannering SI, Haskins K (2016) Science 351(6274): 711-4
    › Primary publication · 26912858 (PubMed) · PMC4884646 (PubMed Central)
  4. The MAFB transcription factor impacts islet α-cell function in rodents and represents a unique signature of primate islet β-cells. Conrad E, Dai C, Spaeth J, Guo M, Cyphert HA, Scoville D, Carroll J, Yu WM, Goodrich LV, Harlan DM, Grove KL, Roberts CT, Powers AC, Gu G, Stein R (2016) Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 310(1): E91-E102
    › Primary publication · 26554594 (PubMed) · PMC4675799 (PubMed Central)
  5. Lixisenatide accelerates restoration of normoglycemia and improves human beta-cell function and survival in diabetic immunodeficient NOD-scid IL-2rg(null) RIP-DTR mice engrafted with human islets. Yang C, Loehn M, Jurczyk A, Przewozniak N, Leehy L, Herrera PL, Shultz LD, Greiner DL, Harlan DM, Bortell R (2015) Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes : 387-98
    › Primary publication · 26316789 (PubMed) · PMC4548726 (PubMed Central)
  6. Novel Observations From Next-Generation RNA Sequencing of Highly Purified Human Adult and Fetal Islet Cell Subsets. Blodgett DM, Nowosielska A, Afik S, Pechhold S, Cura AJ, Kennedy NJ, Kim S, Kucukural A, Davis RJ, Kent SC, Greiner DL, Garber MG, Harlan DM, diIorio P (2015) Diabetes 64(9): 3172-81
    › Primary publication · 25931473 (PubMed) · PMC4542439 (PubMed Central)