Christopher Pin

Genetics & Development Dr. Christopher Pin


Chair and Scientist, Division of Genetics & Development, Children’s Health Research Institute
Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics, Oncology and Physiology & Pharmacology, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University
Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute
Director, London Regional Transgenic and Gene Targeting Facility, Lawson Health Research Institute

How my research helps children

My work impacts children who develop pancreatic diseases including pancreatitis and pancreatic insufficiency found in genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis.  The occurrence of these diseases in the Paediatric population is more likely to be the result of genetic susceptibility within the patient.  My work examines the factors that determine susceptibility to pancreatic diseases throughout life.  These “susceptibility factors” are believed to be established early in childhood and include genetic and environmental factors.


Current Research Activities

My laboratory is interested in a number of aspects of exocrine pancreatic biology including, but not limited to:

  1. Transcriptional regulation of pancreatic development and response to disease.  We have identified important roles for MIST1 in acinar cell maturation.
  2. Fibroblast growth factor 21 signaling.  This important molecule regulates metabolism by affecting insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake.  Our laboratory has shown that FGF21 also affects the pancreatic response to injury and that the FGF21 gene is a target of epigenetic silencing.
  3. The unfolded protein response signaling pathway.  While this pathway is important in responding to cell stress, we have shown that it can play a dramatic role in acinar cell differentiation and the response to injury.
  4. Calcium regulation.  My laboratory has identified a novel regulator ov calcium signaling that is required for appropriate acinar cell exocytosis.

Research Team

My lab consists of two graduate students, three undergraduate students, a postdoctoral fellow and a research technician.  I have trained ten graduate students, several of which have gone on to receive local and national awards for their work.  In the past year, I have initiated collaborations with local gastroenterologists to perform translational work in the attempt to identify genetic events linked to pancreatic disorders.

Future Research Plans

I am collaborating with Drs. Terry Ponich, Ken Leslie, Kevin Bax, Nadeem Hussain, Tina Mele and John Howard to investigate the genetic basis for familial pancreatic diseases.  I am also starting to investigate the interplay between environmental and genetic factors that affect an individual’s susceptibility to pancreatic injury and disease.

Awards & Grants


2011 Dr. Joseph Gilbert Award - Awarded at Lawson Health Research Institute (LHRI)

New Investigator Scholarship - Awarded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research


Funding in support of "Signaling networks in pancreatic disease" - Awarded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Funding in support of "High Resolution Imaging Suite for Analysis of Development" - Awarded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

Funding in support of "A novel mouse model to identify early events in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma" - Awarded by London Regional Cancer Program (LRCP)

Funding in support of "Analysis of the unfolded protein response in chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic adenocarcinoma" - Awarded by Lawson Health Research Institute (LHRI)

Funding in support of "Regulation of Acinar Cell Function" - Awarded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

Funding in support of "Novel approaches to assess epigenetic and genetic changes associated with human pancreatic disease" - Awarded by UWO Academic Development Fund (ADF) Small Grants Competition

Funding in support of "A novel Calcium ATPase involved in exocrine cell function" - Awarded by Lawson Health Research Institute

Recent Publications


Comparison of the clonality of urothelial carcinoma developing in the upper urinary tract and those developing in the bladder
Wang Y, Lang MR, Pin CL, Izawa JI
Springerplus. 2013 Aug 28; 2:412

Activation of protein kinase C d leads to increased pancreatic acinar cell de-differentiation in the absence of MIST1
Johnson CL, Peat J, Volante SN, McLean CA, Wang R, Pin CL
J Pathology. 2012 Feb 8. [Epub ahead of print]

A new class of transcription factors?
Pin CL
Bioessays. 2012; 34(1):6

The absence of MIST1 leads to increased ethanol sensitivity and decreased activity of the unfolded protein response in mouse pancreatic acinar cells
Alahari S, Mehmood R, Johnson CL, Pin CL
PLoS ONE. 2012; 6(12):e28863. Epub 2011 Dec 28

Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) from pancreatic acinar cells and whole pancreatic tissue
Fazio EN, Mehmood R, Pin CL
The Pancreapedia: Exocrine Pancrease Knowledge Base. Ann Arbor, MI: publishing at the University of Michigan Library. 2011 August 18

Stanniocalcin 2 alters PERK signalling and reduces cellular injury during cerulein induced pancreatitis in mice
Fazio EN, DiMattia GE, Chadi SA, Kernohan KD, Pin CL
BMC Cell Biology. 2011; 12(1):17

MIST1 regulates the pancreatic acinar cell expression of Atp2c2, the gene encoding secretory pathway calcium ATPase 2
Garside VC, Johnson CL, Kowalik AS, DiRenzo D, Konieczny SF, Pin CL
Experimental Cell Research. 2010; 316(17):2859-70

Fibroblast growth factor 21 reduces the severity of cerulein-induced pancreatitis in mice
Johnson CL, Weston JY, Chadi SA, Fazio EN, Huff MW, Kharitonenkov A, Köester A, Pin CL
Gastroenterology. 2009 Nov; 137(5):1795-804

Identification of a transcription factor, BHLHB8, involved in mouse seminal vesicle epithelium differentiation and function
Pin CL, Johnson CL, Rade B, Kowalik AS, Garside VC, Everest ME
Biol Reprod. 2008 Jan; 78(1):91-100

Mist1-null mice are resistant to streptozotocin-induced beta cell damage
Fazio EN, Pin CL
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007 Feb 16; 353(3):823-8

Mice lacking the transcription factor Mist1 exhibit an altered stress response and increased sensitivity to caerulein-induced pancreatitis
Kowalik AS, Johnson CL, Chadi SA, Weston JY, Fazio EN, Pin CL
Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2007 Apr; 292(4):G1123-32

Altered Glut-2 accumulation and beta-cell function in mice lacking the exocrine-specific transcription factor, Mist1
Fazio EN, Everest M, Colman R, Wang R, Pin CL
J Endocrinol. 2005 Dec; 187(3):407-18

Mist1-KrasG12D knock-in mice develop mixed differentiation metastatic exocrine pancreatic carcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma
Tuveson DA, Zhu L, Gopinathan A, Willis NA, Kachatrian L, Grochow R, Pin CL, Mitin NY, Taparowsky EJ, Gimotty PA, Hruban RH, Jacks T, Konieczny SF
Cancer Res. 2006 Jan 1; 66(1):242-7

Additional publications



Phone: (519) 685-8500, x53073
Fax: (519) 685-8186
Email: cpin [at] uwo [dot] ca

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