Joseph Elsakr is an MD/PhD student in the Molecular Physiology and Biophysics department at Vanderbilt University. He received his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. There, he worked to developed aptamers that could recognize human epithelial progenitor cells in whole blood samples.
As a graduate student at Vanderbilt, Joseph's work focuses on assessing the effects of maternal Western-style diet during pregnancy on the endocrine pancreas of the offspring. He uses both mouse and non-human primate models, and a variety of techniques to analyze both in vivo and ex vivo islet function in offspring exposed to maternal Western-style diet.