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Leah Caplan

University of Georgia

Kathy DelGiorno lab

Pancreatic cancer is set to be the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths by 2030, however how pancreatic cancer develops is still poorly understood. One event thought to be an early step in pancreatic tumorigenesis is acinar-to-ductal metaplasia, a process in which enzyme-secreting acinar cells transdifferentiate into ductal cells in response to tissue injury. Acinar-to-ductal metaplasia actually yields a heterogenous population of cell types including mucinous cells and chemosensory tuft cells, as well as hormone-secreting enteroendocrine cells rarely observed in the normal pancreas. My research is focused on understanding the role of these metaplasia-derived enteroendocrine cells in pancreatic injury response, repair, and tumorigenesis.