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Baylor College of Medicine News

New BCM McNair Scholar applies stem cell technology to advance diabetes research

Stem cell and regenerative medicine expert Dr. Malgorzata Borowiak has been named Baylor College of Medicine's fifth McNair Scholar. She will focus on diabetes.

Using stem cell technology, Borowiak's research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of type 1 diabetes to identify new, cellular treatments for the disease.

The McNair Scholar program at BCM, supported by the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation and managed by the McNair Medical Institute, identifies outstanding scientists and physician scientists in biomedical research in four areas – breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, juvenile diabetes and neuroscience.

Borowiak, who started at BCM in January, serves as an assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology and as a member of the Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Center at BCM and the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at BCM, Texas Children's Hospital and The Methodist Hospital.

"We are very excited to welcome Dr. Borowiak, who will act as the crucial 'missing-link' in our program to develop stem cell therapy for diabetes," said Dr. Malcolm Brenner, director of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy.

Prior to joining BCM, Borowiak trained under Dr. Douglas Melton, a renowned leader in stem cell biology, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. She received a Ph.D. in developmental biology/signaling from Free University and Max-Delbrueck Centrum for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany. She completed a master's of science in biotechnology from Adam Mickiewicz University and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Poznan, Poland, her native country.

In Berlin, Borowiak became interested in unique and alternate methods of liver regeneration. When she moved to Melton's lab at Harvard, she combined that with her interest in stem cells.

"I am honored to be one of the McNair Scholars. With the McNair's support, I can accelerate my research at BCM and in the Texas Medical Center," said Borowiak. "This is an excellent community for scientists and allows us to combine basic research with medical application to solve the problems we work on."

Borowiak is the fifth McNair Scholar announced since the program's first recruit, Dr. Ben Arenkielwas announced in June 2010, followed by Dr. Xiang Zhang, Dr. Jake Kushner and Dr. Melissa Bondy .