She’s spending the first part of her fellowship studying an innovative way to access beta cells: creating them from stem cells, which are cells that can develop into many different types of cells. Decio Eizirik, PhD, an expert in Dr. Callebaut’s home country of Belgium, pioneered this method. Dr. Callebaut will learn this technique from Dr. Eizirik in his lab at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and bring it back to BRI.
“Being able to create beta cells right here at BRI will enable us to test this new treatment and give us better insight into how the therapy would work in an actual person with T1D,” she says.
Dr. Callebaut hopes her work in beta cells will accelerate lab testing of this therapy and move them closer to human trials. “T1D often starts very early in life. You never get a break from it, you can’t turn it off,” she says. “I was so excited to receive this fellowship. I would be even more excited to one day see our work lead to a new therapy that could stop T1D.”