Melissa Brown, Ph.D.
Post-doctoral research, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, MA
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago
M.S and Dietetic Internship., Rush University Chicago, IL
B.S., University of Massachusetts Amherst
Area(s) of Specialization:
Islets, Diabetes, Beta Cell Expansion
Dr. Melissa Brown is a Lecturer in the Department of Nutrition at the University of New Haven and has experience teaching undergraduate and graduate students both on campus and online. Dr. Brown is also a Registered Dietitian with a Master of Science Degree in Clinical Nutrition and earned her combined MS/RD from Rush University in Chicago in 1997. Before teaching at the University, Dr. Brown has worked as an ICU dietitian and owned her own private practice in the Chicago area. Currently, Dr. Brown practices in the Western Massachusetts area and focuses on pancreatic islet transplantation research for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. Islet cells are the cells in the pancreas that regulate blood sugar levels by secreting insulin. Type I diabetics are lacking this mechanism due to destruction of their own islet cells by an auto-immune response. Islet transplantation involves the removal of healthy islet cells from a deceased donor for transplantation into a diabetic recipient with the goal of providing the required insulin response to control blood sugars. Current activities in my lab are concentrated on these areas with particular focus on protecting islet cells after transplantation, enhancing the insulin secretory capabilities of isolated islets and investigating methodology to stimulate expansion and proliferation of beta islet cells in culture and in vivo.
Honors and Awards
University of Massachusetts Amherst, School of Public Health and Health Sciences 2015-2016 College Outstanding Online Teacher Award Nominee
Sigma Xi Research Forum Award, 1 st Place, (2002) University of Illinois at Chicago
Sivitri Kamath Award for Academic Excellence in Nutrition (1999) University of Illinois at Chicago
Helen S. Mitchell Scholarship for Academic Excellence in Nutrition (1994) University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Harriet Byrd Scholarship for Academic Excellence in Animal Science (1991, 1992) University of Rhode Island
Selected Professional Presenations
A Mesiti, M Brown , A Schneyer. BMP7 is Expressed in Human Islets and Non-Islet Tissue from Normal and Type 2 Diabetic Donors. ENDO2016, April 1-4, 2016, Boston, MA. (Poster).
A Schneyer, D Andrzejewski, A Burnside, M Brown . Expression And Action Of Activin And Other Tgfb Ligands In Human Islets. American Diabetes Associations 75th Scientific Sessions, June 5-9, 2015, Boston, MA. (Poster) .
A Schneyer, D Andrzejewski, M Brown . Lineage Tracing Indicates That a- to b-Cell Transdifferentiation Is Enhanced in FSTL3 KO Mice. ENDO 2015, March 5-8 in San Diego, California. (Oral Presentation).
A Schneyer, D Andrzejewski, M Brown . Transdifferentiation of a- to b-cells is enhanced in FSTL3 KO mice. 2014. Keystone Symposia, Emerging Concepts and Targets in Islet Biology, April 6-11, 2014, Keystone, Colorado, USA. (Poster)
M Brown, L Bonomi, N Ungerleider, A Schneyer. Role of Activin and FSTL3 in alpha- and beta-Cell Expansion/TransDifferentiation. 2012. Keystone Meeting. Advances in Islet Biology (Poster and Oral Presentation).
M Brown, L Bonomi, F Kimura, N Ungerleider, A Schneyer. Regulation Of Glucose And Lipid Homeostasis By Follistatin And Follistatin Like-3. 2011 Keystone Meeting. Advances in Islet Biology (Poster and Oral Presentation).
M. Brown , L. Bonomi, F. Kimura, N. Ungerleider, A. Schneyer. Differential TGFbeta superfamily expression and action in mouse and rat islets. Endocrine Society, 92nd Annual Meeting. 2010 (Poster Presentation).
M. Brown, G. Elias, M. Pahari, H. Nseir, L. Cicalese, C. Rastellini. Beta-cell sensitivity of ectopically auto-transplanted islets. European Society of Organ Transplantation. Prague, Czech Republic. 2007. (Poster of Distinction)
S. Morini, M. Brown, G. Elias, A. Franchitto, H. Nseir, L. Cicalese, E. Gaudio, C. Rastellini. Microvasculature of ectopically transplanted islets. European Society of Organ Transplantation. Prague, Czech Republic. 2007. (Poster of Distinction)
M. Brown , G. Elias, M. Pahari, L. Cicalese, C. Rastellini. Prolonged islet allograft survival induced by pregnancy related factors. World Transplant Congress. Boston, MA, U.S.A. 2006. (Poster Presentation).
G. Elias, M. Brown , S. Bradley, L. Cicalese, C. Rastellini. Identification of genes responsible for beta cell proliferation: A potential tool for improving islet transplantation. World Transplant Congress. Boston, MA, U.S.A. 2006. (Oral Presentation).
Selected Professional Publications
M Brown, D Andrjewski, A Burnside, A Schneyer. Activin Enhances α- to β-cell Transdifferentiation As A Source For β-Cells In Male FSTL3 Knockout Mice. Accepted for publication in Endocrinology. 2015. Early Release. http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2015-1793#sthash.7KsXIMCt.dpuf
E. Carbone and M Brown . With new dietary guidelines in the works, what exactly are we supposed to eat? Commissioned by the Conversation for TheConversation.com April 30, 2015. and re-published in Fortune.com May 2, 2015.
M. Brown, J. Temmerman. Raising awareness of the need for enhanced obesity education for physicians and healthcare practitioners. NEHP newsletter, July 2014.
D. Andrjewski, M Brown , N Ungerleider, A Burnside, A Schneyer. Activins A and B regulate fate-determining gene expression in islet cell lines and islet cells from male mice. Endocrinology. 2015 May 11:en20151167.
M. Brown , N. Ungerleider, L. Bonomi, A. Schneyer. Effects of activin A on survival, function, and gene expression of pancreatic islets from non-diabetic and diabetic human donors. Islets. 2014 Nov 2;6(5-6):e1017226. doi: 10.1080/19382014.2015.101722.
C. Kim, P. Patel, L. Gouvin, M. Brown, A. Khalil, E. Henchey, A. Heuck. N. Yadava. Comparative analysis of the mitochondrial physiology of pancreatic beta cells. Bioenergetics. 2014. March 1;3(1):110.doi:10.4172/2167-7662.1000110.
K. Gauger , L. Basso, B. Bentley, M. Brown, E. Henchey, A. Shimono, J. Wyman, S. Schneider. Mice deficient in SFRP1 exhibit increased diposity, dysrgegulated glucose metabolism and enhanced macrophage infiltration. PLosOne. 2013 Dec 5;8(12):e78320. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0078320.
N. Ungerleider, L. Bonomi, M. Brown , A. Schneyer. Increased activin bioavailability enhances hepatic insulin sensitivity while inducing hepatic steatosis in male mice. Endocrinology. 2013 Jun;154(6):2025-33. doi: 10.1210/en.2012-1844
L. Bonomi, M. Brown , N. Ungerleider, M. Muse, M. Matzuk, A. Schneyer. Activin B regulates islet composition and function but not whole body glucose homeostasis or insulin sensitivity. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Sep 1;303(5):E587-96. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00177.2012.
M. Brown , F. Kimura, L. Bonomi, N. Ungerleider, A. Schneyer. Differential synthesis and action of TGFb superfamily ligands in mouse and rat islets. Islets. 2011.Nov/Dec;3(6):1-9.
M.Brown, L. Bonomi, F. Kumura, N. Ungerleider, A. Schneyer. Follistatin And Follistatin Like-3 Differentially Regulate Adiposity And Glucose Homeostasis. Obesity. advance online publication 5 May 2011. doi:10.1038/oby.2011.97
A Schneyer, M Brown . Altered glucose homeostasis resulting from developmental exposures to endocrine disruptors. In: Diamanti-Kandarakis D, Gore AC (eds), Endocrine Disruptors and Puberty. Springer/Humana, 2012. doi:10.1007/978-1-60761-561-3_11
S Morini, G Elias, M Brown , V Subbotin, C Rastellini, L Cicalese. Chronic morpho-functional damage as a consequence of transient ischemia/reperfusion injury of the small bowel. Histol Histopathol. 2010 Mar;25(3):277-86.
M. Brown, and A. Schneyer. Emerging roles for TGFb superfamily in beta-cell homeostasis. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2010 21(7), 441-448, 2010