Biomedical Research Education & Training
Faculty Member

Powers, Alvin C., M.D.
Director Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism
Professor of Medicine
Joe C. Davis Chair in Biomedical Science
Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

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Phone Number: 615-936-7678

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Powers, Alvin's picture
Academic history
B.A., University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
M.D., University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences, Memphis, TN

Office Address   Mailing Address

8435E MRB4 (Langford)

7465 MRBIV 37232

Research Keywords
Pancreatic Islet Biology, Vascularization, Development, Regeneration, Proliferation, and Imaging; Diabetes,Developmental biology,Diabetes,Molecular medicine,Transplantation,Vascular Biology

Clinical Research Keywords
Diabetes; insulin secretion, pancreatic islet function

Patient Care Specialty
Endocrinology and Diabetes

Research Specialty
Pancreatic Islet Biology, Vascularization, Development, Regeneration, and Imaging; Diabetes

Research Description
The purpose of our research is to understand how glucose stimulates insulin secretion by pancreatic islet cells and to characterize and reverse abnormalities in this process that are present in diabetes. Insulin secretion by pancreatic islets is very tightly coupled to changes in the blood glucose; abnormalities in insulin secretion are a major factor in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Our laboratory is conducting research in three areas. First, we are studying the sequence of molecular events and factors important for the development of normal islet vasculature. Pancreatic islets are extensively vascularized and this is important in their ability to sense the blood glucose and quickly secrete insulin. Second, we are investigating the molecular mechanisms of islet growth and regeneration with a focus on growth factors and signal transduction pathways in both rodent and human pancreatic islets. We have developed a new model where beta cell proliferation is related to islet cell interactions with macrophages and endothelial cells. Third, we are developing in vivo bioluminescence and other technologies to image and quantify pancreatic islets in vivo. Many of our studies involve the study of the human pancreas or human islets transplanted into immunodeficient mice to generate information relevant to human diabetes. Our research utilizes research approaches such as RNA and protein analysis, genetically modified mice, in vivo physiology, radioimmunoassay, adenovirus mediated gene transfer, transplantation of murine and human islets, confocal microscopy, and immunocytochemistry and involves collaborations with vascular biologists, development biologists, biomedical engineers, and transplant biologists.

Clinical Interests
General endocrinology, diabetes, thyroid disease

Alfa, RW, Park, S, Skelly, KR, Poffenberger, G, Jain, N, Gu, X, Kockel, L, Wang, J, Liu, Y, Powers, AC, Kim, SK. Suppression of insulin production and secretion by a decretin hormone. Cell Metab, 21(2), 323-33, 2015

Atkinson, MA, von Herrath, M, Powers, AC, Clare-Salzler, M. Current concepts on the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes--considerations for attempts to prevent and reverse the disease. Diabetes Care, 38(6), 979-88, 2015

Brissova, M, Shostak, A, Fligner, CL, Revetta, FL, Washington, MK, Powers, AC, Hull, RL. Human Islets Have Fewer Blood Vessels than Mouse Islets and the Density of Islet Vascular Structures Is Increased in Type 2 Diabetes. J Histochem Cytochem, 63(8), 637-45, 2015

Burke, SJ, May, AL, Noland, RC, Lu, D, Brissova, M, Powers, AC, Sherrill, EM, Karlstad, MD, Campagna, SR, Stephens, JM, Collier, JJ. Thiobenzothiazole-modified Hydrocortisones Display Anti-inflammatory Activity with Reduced Impact on Islet ??-Cell Function. J Biol Chem, 290(21), 13401-16, 2015

Ceddia, RP, Lee, D, Maulis, MF, Carboneau, BA, Threadgill, DW, Poffenberger, G, Milne, G, Boyd, KL, Powers, AC, McGuinness, OP, Gannon, M, Breyer, RM. The PGE2 EP3 Receptor Regulates Diet-Induced Adiposity in Male Mice. Endocrinology, en20151693, 2015

Dou, S, Virostko, J, Greiner, DL, Powers, AC, Liu, G. Quantitative Correlation of in Vivo Properties with in Vitro Assay Results: The in Vitro Binding of a Biotin-DNA Analogue Modifier with Streptavidin Predicts the in Vivo Avidin-Induced Clearability of the Analogue-Modified Antibody. Mol Pharm, 12(8), 3097-103, 2015

Kayton, NS, Poffenberger, G, Henske, J, Dai, C, Thompson, C, Aramandla, R, Shostak, A, Nicholson, W, Brissova, M, Bush, WS, Powers, AC. Human islet preparations distributed for research exhibit a variety of insulin-secretory profiles. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 308(7), E592-602, 2015

Li, M, Dean, ED, Zhao, L, Nicholson, WE, Powers, AC, Chen, W. Glucagon receptor inactivation leads to ??-cell hyperplasia in zebrafish. J Endocrinol, 227(2), 93-103, 2015

Raum, JC, Soleimanpour, SA, Groff, DN, Cor??, N, Fasano, L, Garratt, AN, Dai, C, Powers, AC, Stoffers, DA. Tshz1 Regulates Pancreatic ??-Cell Maturation. Diabetes, 64(8), 2905-14, 2015

Zhu, X, Hu, R, Brissova, M, Stein, RW, Powers, AC, Gu, G, Kaverina, I. Microtubules Negatively Regulate Insulin Secretion in Pancreatic ?? Cells. Dev Cell, 34(6), 656-68, 2015

Brissova, M, Aamodt, K, Brahmachary, P, Prasad, N, Hong, JY, Dai, C, Mellati, M, Shostak, A, Poffenberger, G, Aramandla, R, Levy, SE, Powers, AC. Islet Microenvironment, Modulated by Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-A Signaling, Promotes ?? Cell Regeneration. Cell Metab, 19(3), 498-511, 2014

Halban, PA, Polonsky, KS, Bowden, DW, Hawkins, MA, Ling, C, Mather, KJ, Powers, AC, Rhodes, CJ, Sussel, L, Weir, GC. ??-cell failure in type 2 diabetes: postulated mechanisms and prospects for prevention and treatment. Diabetes Care, 37(6), 1751-8, 2014

Hang, Y, Yamamoto, T, Benninger, RK, Brissova, M, Guo, M, Bush, W, Piston, DW, Powers, AC, Magnuson, M, Thurmond, DC, Stein, R. The MafA transcription factor becomes essential to islet ??-cells soon after birth. Diabetes, 2014

Kang, L, Dai, C, Lustig, ME, Bonner, JS, Mayes, WH, Mokshagundam, S, James, FD, Thompson, CS, Lin, CT, Perry, CG, Anderson, EJ, Neufer, PD, Wasserman, DH, Powers, AC. Heterozygous SOD2 Deletion Impairs Glucose-Stimulated Insulin Secretion, but not Insulin Action in High Fat-Fed Mice. Diabetes, 2014

Patel, M, Gleason, A, O''Malley, S, Connolly, B, Suresch, D, Virostko, J, Phillips, N, Lin, SA, Chen, TB, Klimas, M, Hargreaves, RJ, Sur, C, Williams, DL, Powers, AC, Bednar, B. Non-invasive bioluminescence imaging of ??-cell function in obese-hyperglycemic [ob/ob] mice. PLoS One, 9(9), e106693, 2014

Reinert, RB, Cai, Q, Hong, JY, Plank, JL, Aamodt, K, Prasad, N, Aramandla, R, Dai, C, Levy, SE, Pozzi, A, Labosky, PA, Wright, CV, Brissova, M, Powers, AC. Vascular endothelial growth factor coordinates islet innervation via vascular scaffolding. Development, 141(7), 1480-91, 2014

Dai, C, Brissova, M, Reinert, RB, Nyman, L, Liu, EH, Thompson, C, Shostak, A, Shiota, M, Takahashi, T, Powers, AC. Pancreatic islet vasculature adapts to insulin resistance through dilation and not angiogenesis. Diabetes, 62(12), 4144-53, 2013

Longuet, C, Robledo, AM, Dean, ED, Dai, C, Ali, S, McGuinness, I, de Chavez, V, Vuguin, PM, Charron, MJ, Powers, AC, Drucker, DJ. Liver-specific disruption of the murine glucagon receptor produces alpha-cell hyperplasia: evidence for a circulating alpha-cell growth factor. Diabetes, 62(4), 1196-205, 2013

Reinert, RB, Brissova, M, Shostak, A, Pan, FC, Poffenberger, G, Cai, Q, Hundemer, GL, Kantz, J, Thompson, CS, Dai, C, McGuinness, OP, Powers, AC. Vascular endothelial growth factor-a and islet vascularization are necessary in developing, but not adult, pancreatic islets. Diabetes, 62(12), 4154-64, 2013

Virostko, J, Radhika, A, Poffenberger, G, Dula, AN, Moore, DJ, Powers, AC. Bioluminescence imaging reveals dynamics of beta cell loss in the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse model. PLoS One, 8(3), e57784, 2013

Brehm, MA, Powers, AC, Shultz, LD, Greiner, DL. Advancing animal models of human type 1 diabetes by engraftment of functional human tissues in immunodeficient mice. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med, 2(5), a007757, 2012 PMCID:3331686

Cai, Q, Brissova, M, Reinert, RB, Cheng Pan, F, Brahmachary, P, Jeansson, M, Shostak, A, Radhika, A, Poffenberger, G, Quaggin, SE, Gray Jerome, W, Dumont, DJ, Powers, AC. Enhanced expression of VEGF-A in I? cells increases endothelial cell number but impairs islet morphogenesis and I? cell proliferation. Dev Biol, 367(1), 40-54, 2012

Dai, C, Brissova, M, Hang, Y, Thompson, C, Poffenberger, G, Shostak, A, Chen, Z, Stein, R, Powers, AC. Islet-enriched gene expression and glucose-induced insulin secretion in human and mouse islets. Diabetologia, 55(3), 707-18, 2012 PMCID:3268985

Reinert, RB, Kantz, J, Misfeldt, AA, Poffenberger, G, Gannon, M, Brissova, M, Powers, AC. Tamoxifen-Induced Cre-loxP Recombination Is Prolonged in Pancreatic Islets of Adult Mice. PLoS One, 7(3), e33529, 2012 PMCID:3314663

Diiorio, P, Jurczyk, A, Yang, C, Racki, WJ, Brehm, MA, Atkinson, MA, Powers, AC, Shultz, LD, Greiner, DL, Bortell, R. Hyperglycemia-induced proliferation of adult human beta cells engrafted into spontaneously diabetic immunodeficient NOD-Rag1null IL2rI?null Ins2Akita mice. Pancreas, 40(7), 1147-9, 2011 PMCID:3251115

Virostko, J, Henske, J, Vinet, L, Lamprianou, S, Dai, C, Radhika, A, Baldwin, RM, Ansari, MS, Hefti, F, Skovronsky, D, Kung, HF, Herrera, PL, Peterson, TE, Meda, P, Powers, AC. Multimodal image coregistration and inducible selective cell ablation to evaluate imaging ligands. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 108(51), 20719-24, 2011 PMCID:3251115

Nyman, LR, Ford, E, Powers, AC, Piston, DW. Glucose-dependent blood flow dynamics in murine pancreatic islets in vivo. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 298(4), E807-14, 2010 PMCID:2853211

Wicksteed, B, Brissova, M, Yan, W, Opland, DM, Plank, JL, Reinert, RB, Dickson, LM, Tamarina, NA, Philipson, LH, Shostak, A, Bernal-Mizrachi, E, Elghazi, L, Roe, MW, Labosky, PA, Myers, MG, Gannon, M, Powers, AC, Dempsey, PJ. Conditional gene targeting in mouse pancreatic ??-Cells: analysis of ectopic Cre transgene expression in the brain. Diabetes, 59(12), 3090-8, 2010 PMCID:2992770

Virostko, J, Radhika, A, Poffenberger, G, Chen, Z, Brissova, M, Gilchrist, J, Coleman, B, Gannon, M, Jansen, ED, Powers, AC. Bioluminescence Imaging in Mouse Models Quantifies beta Cell Mass in the Pancreas and After Islet Transplantation. Mol Imaging Biol, 2009

Berglund, ED, Li, CY, Poffenberger, G, Ayala, JE, Fueger, PT, Willis, SE, Jewell, MM, Powers, AC, Wasserman, DH. Glucose metabolism in vivo in four commonly used inbred mouse strains. Diabetes, 57(7), 1790-9, 2008 PMCID:2453626

Brissova, M, Powers, AC. Revascularization of transplanted islets: can it be improved. Diabetes, 57(9), 2269-71, 2008 PMCID:2518476

Nyman, LR, Wells, KS, Head, WS, McCaughey, M, Ford, E, Brissova, M, Piston, DW, Powers, AC. Real-time, multidimensional in vivo imaging used to investigate blood flow in mouse pancreatic islets. J Clin Invest, 118(11), 3790-7, 2008 PMCID:2564611

Powers, AC. Insulin therapy versus cell-based therapy for type 1 diabetes mellitus: what lies ahead. Nat Clin Pract Endocrinol Metab, 4(12), 664-5, 2008

Brissova, M, Shostak, A, Shiota, M, Wiebe, PO, Poffenberger, G, Kantz, J, Chen, Z, Carr, C, Jerome, WG, Chen, J, Baldwin, HS, Nicholson, W, Bader, DM, Jetton, T, Gannon, M, Powers, AC. Pancreatic islet production of vascular endothelial growth factor--a is essential for islet vascularization, revascularization, and function. Diabetes, 55(11), 2974-85, 2006

Brissova, M, Blaha, M, Spear, C, Nicholson, W, Radhika, A, Shiota, M, Charron, MJ, Wright, CV, Powers, AC. Reduced PDX-1 expression impairs islet response to insulin resistance and worsens glucose homeostasis. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 288(4), E707-14, 2005

Brissova, M, Fowler, MJ, Nicholson, WE, Chu, A, Hirshberg, B, Harlan, DM, Powers, AC. Assessment of human pancreatic islet architecture and composition by laser scanning confocal microscopy. J Histochem Cytochem, 53(9), 1087-97, 2005

Fowler, M, Virostko, J, Chen, Z, Poffenberger, G, Radhika, A, Brissova, M, Shiota, M, Nicholson, WE, Shi, Y, Hirshberg, B, Harlan, DM, Jansen, ED, Powers, AC. Assessment of pancreatic islet mass after islet transplantation using in vivo bioluminescence imaging. Transplantation, 79(7), 768-76, 2005

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