Kraft Family Fellow Helping to Unlock Secrets of Pancreas Development

When Anastasia Mavropoulos, PhD arrived at UCSF from her home in Belgium, she had already achieved an impressive record of success in studying pancreas development. Her animal model of choice in Belgium? The zebrafish – an organism that has been studied extensively in developmental biology because its embryos develop rapidly, progressing from eggs to larvae in under three days. In addition, the embryos are large, transparent, and develop externally to the mother – characteristics that help Dr. Mavropoulos to experiment and observe the zebrafish’s pancreatic development with great ease.

Now that Dr. Mavropoulos is here at UCSF, she has been expanding her skills and knowledge by utilizing both mouse and cell line models. Dr. Mavropoulos hopes that her work will contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms leading to diabetes and to the development of new therapies to treat the disease.

This past year, Dr. Mavropoulos was named as the first Kraft Family Fellow, a fellowship made possible by Stephen and Marilyn Kraft of New Mexico and their daughters, Amy (Kraft) Lewis and Melanie Kraft. According to Dr. Mavropoulos, “During post-doctoral training, obtaining a fellowship represents an important stage in my professional development. The position also represents a huge recognition of my work, which is very encouraging.”

Needless to say, Dr. Mavropoulos was delighted to meet Marilyn Kraft when she visited recently – not only to show off her prized fish but also to thank her family for supporting her ongoing work in pancreas development./p>

Creating a robust fellowship program is important to the Diabetes Center for two reasons. Not only will each fellow make a significant impact on diabetes research at UCSF, they will also benefit, both personally and professionally, from this generous investment in their career.

For more information regarding fellowship opportunities in the Diabetes Center, contact Suzanne Ritchie at 415-476-6334.