Skip Navigation Brehm Center

U-M Brehm Investigators

Santiago Schnell
"As a U-M Brehm Investigator, I am honored and excited to be part of a group of outstanding investigators from many disciplines pursuing common goals in diabetes research. I have the privilege to interact with other Brehm Investigators in a uniquely enriched research environment full of opportunities with access and support for new technology which will in turn provide a superb environment for my trainees who wish to pursue a career in Type 1 diabetes research."


Massimo Pietropaolo, M.D.

Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes
Professor of Microbiology & Immunology
Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases
Director of the Laboratory of Immunogenetics
U-M Brehm Investigator
Pietropaolo Research

Dr. Massimo Pietropaolo received his medical degree from the University of Perugia School of Medicine in Perugia, Italy. It was at this university where he also completed his residency and clinical fellowship in endocrine and metabolical sciences. A recipient of two Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation fellowhips, Dr. Pietropaolo went on to be a research fellow under Dr. George Eisenbarth in the section of Immunogenetics at the Joslin Diabetes Center at the Harvard Medical School. He continued with Dr. Eisenbarth at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Before coming to Michigan, he was an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine and Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The main focus of Dr. Pietropaolo's research is to unravel the molecular mechanisms causing failure of immunological tolerance in autoimmune diabetes. Dr. Pietropaolo has identified a number of molecular targets of autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells termed islet autoantigens. In his laboratory a combination of islet autoantibody biomarkers are utilized to accurately identify individuals at risk of progressing to type 1 diabetes. Currently Dr. Pietropaolo lab is evaluating the pathogenicity of islet autoantigen-specific T cell receptors which mediate islet infiltration and beta cell destruction in an effort to shed light on the relationship between autoreactivity and pathogenicity with the ultimate goal to design effective immunotherapeutic strategies for human type 1 diabetes.