Associate Professor Chris Drogemuller

Associate Professor Chris Drogemuller
  • Biography/ Background

    Chris Drogemuller, Chief Scientist within the Centre for Clinical and Experimental Transplantation (CCET) Laboratory and Associate Professor of Medicine with the University of Adelaide. In 2007 he co-founded the Islet Transplant Laboratory, which is currently located within the University of Adelaide AHMS building, established a Nationally Funded Centre for clinical islet transplant program (2013-present) for treatment of type 1 diabetics and more recently for sufferers of hereditary pancreatitis (2015-present). He has successfully supervised both PhD and Honours students and is responsible for the management of the RAH Renal Department (CNARTS) laboratory.


    The laboratory consists of several research groups including Professor Toby Coates (Director of Transplantation CNARTS Royal Adelaide Hospital) who has an active research program investigating clinical Islet Transplantation for the treatment of type 1 diabetes and hereditary pancreatitis, Dendritic Cell Biology, Cell Therapy and Transplant Immunology. Dr Rob Carroll (Transplant Immunology and T Cell Biology (Tregs)), Dr Chen Au Peh (Vasculitis), Associate Professor Shilpa Jesudason (Pregnancy Immunology and pre-eclampsia and Dendritic Cell Biology) and Professor Randall Faull (Director of the Medical Program-Deputy Dean).



    Chris has been the Senior Scientist on the South Australian and Northern Territory Islet Program (SANTIP) since its inception and in collaboration with Professor Coates completed a clinical trial of islet transplantation in type 1 diabetics (2006-2012) published in the American Journal of Transplantation. Prior to this he worked four years in America as the senior scientist (Molecular and Cellular Biology) within a clinical stage gene therapy company, two years in a cancer gene discovery project at the Hanson Institute (SA) and five years in clinical pharmacology at the Flinders Medical Centre (SA).

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  • Qualifications

    1995    Bachelor of Biotechnology (Honours). Flinders University of South Australia, Bedford Park, South Australia.


    1995    Certificate course in the Care and Welfare of Experimental Animals. Flinders University of South Australia.


    1997    Radiation Safety Course. University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia.


    2005    Business Basics for Scientists. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.

  • Awards & Achievements

    2011 TSANZ Travel Award (competitive application). To travel and present research at the 13th International IPITA conference in Prague, Czech Republic.


    2008 JDRF Travel Grant (competitive application). To travel and present research at the 22nd International TTS conference in Sydney, Australia.


    1998 Ian Potter Foundation Institutional Travel Award (competitive application). To travel and present research at the 5th International ISSX conference in Cairns, Queensland.

  • Teaching Interests

    Supervisor (PhD)

    PhD Students Completed; Ms Amy Hughes.

    PhD Students Current; Ms Mariea Dency-Bosco, Mr Bron Letts.


    Supervisor (Hons)

    Honours Students Completed; Ms Amanda Kupke (1st Class).


  • Research Interests

    Type 1 Diabetes (T1D)


    Isolation and transplantation of human islets to treat T1D is a major focus of research. As a member of the Australian Islet Consortium the laboratory regularly receives human islet preparations and performs QC assays to measure islet purity, function, viability and sterility prior to transplantation into T1D recipients.


    In South Australia we have performed 9 infusions into 4 recipients and currently 3 recipients no longer require exogenous insulin to control their diabetes and the 4th recipient no longer suffers the life threatening and debilitating hypoglycaemia unawareness they experienced prior to transplantation.


    There are many factors that limit the long term success of islet transplantation including poor islet engraftment, apoptosis following transplant, immune reactions and hypoxia experienced during islet isolation and post-transplant prior to revascularisation. Several research projects aim to address these issues including;


    Gene therapy to prevent apoptosis in transplanted islets, enhance revascularisation and improve function.


    Investigating the role of zinc and zinc transporter genes in pancreatic islets with respect to function and survival.


    Endothelial progenitor cells (ECP) a potential cell therapy in islet transplantation to promote engraftment and enhance islet survival and function.


    The use of biological scaffolds in islet transplantation to facilitate new sites of transplantation, promote greater revascularisation and increase viability and function post-transplant.

  • Publications

    Amy Hughes, Darling Rojas-Canales, Chris Drogemuller, Nicolas H Voelcker, Shane T Grey and PTH Coates. IGF2: an endocrine hormone to improve islet transplant survival. Journal of Endocrinology. 221: 201-208 (2014).


    Penko D, Rojas Canales D, Mohanasundaram D, Pieris HS, Sun WY, Drogemuller CJ, Keating DJ, Coates PT, Bonder CS, Jessup CF. Endothelial progenitor cells enhance islet engraftment, influence beta cell function and modulate islet connexin 36 expression. Cell Transplant (2013) [Epub ahead of print].


    P J O’Connell, DJ Holmes-Walker, D Goodman, W J Hawthorne, T Loudovaris, J E Gunton, H E Thomas, S T Grey, C J Drogemuller, G M Ward, D J Torpy, P T Coates, T W Kay, On behalf of the Australian Islet Transplant Consortium*. Multicenter Australian Trial of Islet Transplantation: Improving Accessibility and Outcomes. American Journal of Transplantation. 7:1850-58 (2013).


    Hughes, A., Mohanasundaram, D., Kireta, S., Jessup, C.F., Drogemuller, C.J. and P.T.H. Coates. Insulin-like growth factor-II (IGF-II) prevents pro-inflammatory cytokine induced apoptosis and significantly improves islet survival post-transplantation. Transplantation. 95(5): (2013).


    Penko, D., Mohanasundaram, D., Sen, S., Drogemuller, C., Mee, C., Bonder, C.S., Coates, P.T. and Jessup, C.F. Incorporation of endothelial progenitor cells into mosaic pseudoislets. Islets. 3(3): 73-9 (2011).


    Mohanasundaram, D.M., Drogemuller, C., Brealey, J., Jessup, C.F., Milner, C., Murgia, C., Lang, C.J., Milton, A., Zalewski, P.D., Russ, G.R. and Coates, P.T. Ultrastructural analysis, zinc transporters, glucose transporters and hormones expression in new world primate (Callithrix jacchus) and human pancreatic islets. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 1:174(2):71-9 (2011).


    Hughes, A., Jessup, C., Drogemuller, C., Mohanasundaram, D., Milner, C., Rojas, D., Russ, G.R. and Coates, P.T. Gene therapy to improve pancreatic islet transplantation for type 1 diabetes mellitus. Curr. Diabetes Rev. 6(5):274-284 (2010).


    Bosco, M.D., Mohanasundaram, D.M., Drogemuller, C.J., Lang, C.J., Zalewski, P.D. and Coates, P.T. Zinc and zinc transporter regulation in pancreatic islets and the potential role of zinc in islet transplantation. Rev. Diabet. Stud. 7(4): 263-274 (2010).


    Gamble J.R., Xia P., Hahn C.N., Drew J.J., Drogemuller C.J., Brown D., Vadas M.A. Phenoxodiol, an experimental anticancer drug, shows potent anti-angiogenic properties in addition to its anti-tumour effects. Int. J. Cancer. 118(10):2412-20 (2006).


    Hahn, C.N., Su, Z.J., Drogemuller, C.J., Tsykin, A., Waterman, S.R, Brautigan, P.J., Yu, S., Kremmidiotis, G., Gardner, A., Solomon, P.J., Goodall, G.J., Vadas, M.A. and Gamble, J.R. Expression profiling reveals functionally important genes and co-ordinately regulated signaling pathway genes during in vitro angiogenesis. Physiol. Genomics. 22(1): 57-69 (2005).


    Drogemuller, C.J., Nunthasomboon, S. and Knights, K.M. Nafenopin-, Ciprofibroyl-, and Palmitoyl-CoA Conjugation in Vitro: Kinetic and Molecular Characterisation of Marmoset Liver Microsomes and Expressed MLCL1. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 396(1): 56-64 (2001).


    Knights, K.M. and Drogemuller, C.J. Xenobiotic-CoA ligases: Kinetic and molecular characterisation. [Invited Review]. Current Drug Metabolism. 1(1): 49-66 (2000).


    Sallustio, B.C., Nunthasomboon, S., Drogemuller, C.J. and Knights, K.M. In vitro covalent binding of nafenopin-CoA to human liver proteins. Toxicol. App. Pharmacol. 163: 176-182 (2000).



  • Professional Associations

    2007-Present      The Transplantation Society (TTS).


    2007-Present      International Pancreas and Islet Transplant Association (IPITA).


    2007-Present      Transplant Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ).


    2005-2007          American Society of Gene Therapy (ASGT).


    1998-1999          International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics (ISSX).


    1997-1999          Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists & Toxicologists (ASCEPT).


    1993-1995          Flinders Biotechnology Association; Treasurer, 1995.

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Entry last updated: Thursday, 28 Jul 2022