Insufficient functional beta cell mass is a common denominator in most forms of diabetes. It will be important to be able to image the functional beta cell mass during onset and / or progression of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It would be equally useful to possibly image beta-cell neo-formation. With the establishment of the Beta Cell Biology Consortium (BCBC) and its core facilities, one goal is to generate antibody tools against stage specific surface markers characterizing the sequential maturation from pancreatic precursors to mature beta-cells. We believe that such antibodies will also be useful for imaging the corresponding stages. Several BCBC research groups, as well as the Antibody and the Functional Genomics Cores, are involved in this project. Here we outline the overall approaches and strategies employed by the BCBC. An ultimate goal for the Consortium is that such antibody tools will allow for the optimization of in vitro culture conditions that will replicate normal pancreatic beta-cell ontogeny - a prerequisite for generating clinically relevant betacell mass for diabetes therapy.