Dr. Benninger joined the BDC faculty in 2011. Main goals of Dr. Benninger’s research include understanding novel signaling pathways in the islet of Langerhans that enhance the regulation of hormone secretion; how disruptions to these signaling pathways cause islet dysfunction in diabetes; and how we can manipulate these signaling pathways to improve islet function towards developing new treatments for individuals with diabetes. He is utilizing state-of-the-art quantitative fluorescence microscopy, including two-photon microscopy, fluorescence lifetime imaging, polarization imaging and FRET in studying pancreatic islet dysfunction in diabetes. Dr. Benninger has developed an integrative model of how different cell-cell communication mechanisms dynamically interact within the islet. They have gained understanding into how this impact in-vivo islet function and glucose homeostasis and are now demonstrating that gap junction channels can be modulated to improve islet function and insulin secretion in models of diabetes. Overall his work applies sophisticated quantitative techniques and predictive quantitative models to link emergent multi-cellular properties of the islet of Langerhans to in-vivo physiology and diabetes, and test novel hypotheses regarding these properties that may be clinically important.