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Norma Kenyon, Ph.D.

Norma Sue Kenyon, Ph.D., is the Martin Kleiman Professor of Surgery, Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology and Biomedical Engineering and is the Executive Director of the Wallace H. Coulter Center for Translational Research at the University of Miami. She is also a Deputy Director at the Diabetes Research Institute and Chief Innovation Officer at the Miller School of Medicine.

For over 25 years, Dr. Kenyon has been involved in preclinical and clinical studies that involve the testing of various approaches for the enhancement of pancreatic islet engraftment and prolongation of graft function, as well as development of alternative sites for implantation of insulin-producing cells. This has included extensive work with bone marrow and bone marrow-derived cells, both clinically and in preclinical models.

Dr. Kenyon has developed and directed multiple studies in the NHP model and participated as Co-Principal Investigator or co-investigator on several clinical islet transplant trials, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, and Clinical Islet Transplant Consortium, and the Nonhuman Primate Cooperative Study Group (NHPCSG).

Her work is concentrated in the area of transplant immunology. She and her team have focused on ways to transplant islet cells without the need for anti-rejection drugs (tolerance), including the incorporation of stem cells into transplant protocols and on correlation of changes in the immune system of both pre-clinical and clinical islet transplant recipients with islet transplant function.

Dr. Kenyon's many accomplishments include the development and sharing of methods for NHP islet and islet/bone marrow allograft submission together with colleagues of the first clinical islet transplant IND, demonstration of the efficacy of co-stimulatory blockade for prevention and reversal of NHP islet allograft rejection and demonstration of long-term survival of allogeneic NHP islets in an alternative site (omental pouch).

She and her team have also shown significant enhancement of islet engraftment and survival, as well as reversal of rejection episodes, via administration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in an NHP model. She also has extensive experience in the testing of novel agents in the setting of NHP islet transplantation, and is currently assessing the utility of preimplantation factor (PIF) for prolongation of islet allograft survival and function.


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