David Heller, BS

Cellular Manufacturing Core, Schulze Diabetes Institute

David Heller

Contact Info

Cellular Manufacturing Core, Schulze Diabetes Institute


Shortly after completing his B.S. in Microbiology at the University of Minnesota in 2013, David joined the Cell Manufacturing Core as a junior researcher. Participating in hundreds of islet isolations, including porcine, primate and human, he gained invaluable tissue processing, quality systems, and cGMP experience. In 2016, David transitioned to supervising the apoptotic donor leukocyte (ADL) “Vaccine” manufacturing for primate allo- and porcine xenotransplantation studies. His work focuses on optimizing the manufacturing process for future preclinical and clinical trials, specifically the development of controlled documentation (master batch records, standard operating procedures, and forms), refinement of manufacturing methods, and improvement of quality control assays and analysis. Following the success of ADL peritransplant infusions in establishing tolerance to islet grafts and eliminating need for maintenance immunosuppression, David is currently investigating the production of ADLs via robust ex-vivo expansion of peripheral blood B-lymphocytes using soluble recombinant cytokines for potential use in other transplantation applications. He also serves as acting Laboratory Safety Officer for the Schulze Diabetes Institute. Drawing from his personal experience with lymphoma, David hopes to advance his education in immunology and cancer biology, dedicating his future work to developing targeted immunotherapies for use in transplantation immunology and cancer treatment.



Kizilgul M, Wilhelm JJ, Beilman GJ, Chinnakotla S, Dunn TB, Pruett TL, Abdulla M, Heller D, Freeman ML, Schwarzenberg SJ, Hering BJ, et al. Effect of intrapancreatic fat of diabetes outsomes after total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplantation. J Diabetes 2018 Apr;10(4):286-295.

Singh A, Ramachandran S, Graham ML, Daneshmandi S, Heller D, Suarez-Pinzon WL, Balamurugan AN, Ansite J, Wilhelm J, Yang A, Zhang Y, Palani N, Abrahante J, Burlak C, Miller SD, Luo X, Hering BJ: Long-term tolerance of islet allografts in nonhuman primates induced by apoptotic donor leuckocytes. Nature Communications (under consideration).