Dr. Sneddon grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts and then attended Harvard University, where she earned her A.B. magna cum laude in Biochemical Sciences and performed her honors thesis research in Chemical Biology with Dr. Stuart Schreiber. She earned her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and genomics at Stanford University in the laboratory of Dr. Patrick O. Brown, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in stem cell and cell replacement therapy for diabetes in the laboratory of Dr. Douglas Melton at Harvard University. Dr. Sneddon’s primary research goals are directed towards understanding pancreatic development, disease, and regeneration. Her laboratory has published an atlas of lineage dynamics of pancreatic development at single-cell resolution in the mouse, work that led to the discovery of a novel endocrine progenitor cell not previously described. More recently, her group has extended this work to human tissue to generate a multi-omic atlas of human fetal pancreatic development, identifying both novel human endocrine progenitor populations and lineage dynamics that are divergent from those in the mouse. In addition, her laboratory is modeling these novel insights about human beta cell specification in the dish, using the platform of human embryonic stem cell differentiation. In addition to Dr. Sneddon’s work in developmental biology, she has concomitantly retained a sharp focus on the generation of functional, mature stem cell-derived beta cells and their efficient transplantation to cure diabetes. In studying the role of the vascular niche in beta cell specification and maturation, for instance, her laboratory has found that recapitulation of key elements of the endogenous beta cell vascular niche in vitro leads to improved engraftment and function of stem cell-derived beta cells in vivo. In 2019, Dr. Sneddon was awarded the international Helmholtz Young Investigator in Diabetes (HelDi) prize, in recognition of outstanding achievements by a young scientist.
Insights from Islet Biology for Making Stem Cell-Derived Islets