Dr. Brian Fife receives an Inaugural Regenerative Medicine Translational Research Award and Grant

March 13, 2017

On June 14, 2016, past and future grant awardees gathered for the 1st Annual Regenerative Medicine Minnesota(RMM) Idea Exchange and Celebration, held at the University of Minnesota.  Dr. Brian Fife received a Translational Research grant to explore a way to stop the immune system from destroying insulin-producing cells in patients with diabetes.

The first year of Regenerative Medicine Minnesota (RMM) grant funding is completed, and the second year has begun! On June 14, 2016, past and future grant awardees gathered for the 1st Annual RMM Idea Exchange and Celebration, held at the University of Minnesota.

RMM is focused on researching the regenerative medicine therapies of the future, creating the infrastructure and recruiting professionals to deliver these therapies, and bringing these therapies to patients across the state.

Regenerative medicine offers a new era in patient care, and Drs. Tolar and Behfar spoke about its importance from the perspectives of RMM’s two collaborating partners, the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic, respectively.

Dr. Daughters, one of last year’s educational program awardees, gave an update on one of the surprising successes of RMM’s first year—building a network of educators who are getting students across the state excited about the science of regenerative medicine and their potential as healthcare providers.

Margaret Anderson Kelliher, member of the RMM’s Board, President & CEO of the Minnesota High Tech Association, and former Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives, talked about how the commercialization of regenerative medicine is building on Minnesota’s incredible history of medical innovation and technology.

Last year’s research grant awardees, all of whom will receive a second year of funding after a first year of excellent results, spoke about the progress they have made to date and the future directions of their research.

At the reception following the formal presentations, Representative Erin Murphy helped congratulate the 2016 grantees as they received their awards:

fife award Dr. Brian Fife received a Translational Research grant to explore a way to stop the immune system from destroying insulin-producing cells in patients with diabetes.

For a complete list of awardees go to the RMM website

Dr. Brian Fife is an Assistant Professor of Medicine within the Division of Rheumatic and Autoimmune Diseases at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He joined the division in February, 2008. He is also a member of the interdisciplinary Center for Immunology and its Autoimmunity Program. Within the Center for Immunology, Dr. Fife serves as the Imaging Core Director using advanced imaging techniques in his own research program. The major focus of his research program is the restoration of immunological self tolerance for treatment of autoimmunity. Dr. Fife is interested in understanding immuological tolerance during Type 1 diabetes and focuses his efforts on understanding checkpoint blockade and the role for inhibitory pathways such as CTLA-4 and PD-1. This work has extending into tumor immunology and understanding the mechanisms involved in checkpoint blockade.

Research being conducted by the Fife Laboratory : Research in our lab is focused on understanding the fundamental mechanisms that regulate T lymphocytes during autoimmune disease such as Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). T1DM is an autoimmune disorder resulting from the T cell mediated destruction of the insulin producing cells within the pancreas. At the root of autoimmunity lies the most important aspect of immune regulation, the ability to discriminate between self and non-self. This highly selective response is characterized by a complicated set of mechanisms which regulate T lymphocyte activity. Autoimmunity results when these mechanisms fail. Recently, we have generated a powerful treatment protocol to selectively target autoreactive cells. Using this type of approach allows us to re-educate the immune system to selectively silence destructive immune responses. Thus in effect, restore a state of self-tolerance and prevent further tissue destruction. We have identified two key regulatory pathways that control diabetes and promote tolerance, Cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) and Programmed Death-1 (PD-1). We have shown that these pathways control both anergy induction and long term maintenance of tolerance. Recent studies have focused on the in vivo imaging of the immune response using two photon microscopy. Using this tolerance protocol will allow us to determine the precise roles of these negative regulatory pathways at different stages during disease pathogenesis to control immunity and enhance tolerance.

Dr. Fife's publications