A career transplant to T1D

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Everett Meyer, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University Medical Center, refocused his research on T1D after his son’s diagnosis

“As a physician scientist, your career doesn’t start until most professional sports careers are over,” says Dr. Everett Meyer, and that long lead time doesn’t leave much flexibility for change. But thanks to a Career Development Award (CDA) from JDRF, Dr. Meyer has been able to adjust his career path, using his expertise in immunology to help find a cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Dr. Meyer had been studying bone marrow transplantation in cancer therapy. But when his son was diagnosed with T1D, he wanted to change direction. “You’ve gotta follow your heart,” he says.

The JDRF CDA has been essential to his transition. “It’s a vote of confidence,” he says. “It’s hard to make transitions between fields without people saying, ‘Yes, we recognize this is high risk but high reward, and we are willing to take that risk with you,’ so I am extremely grateful.”

Dr. Meyer will use the CDA to work on modifying the immune system to protect islets and teaching the immune system to tolerate them. “We’re looking at a cellular based immune therapy for T1D that pulls from cancer immunotherapy, transplantation immunotherapy and the remarkable progress that’s been made in the type 1 diabetes field.”

Dr. Meyer recounts a visit from his son to his laboratory. “I was able to tell him, ‘I’m working on type 1 diabetes,’ and he said, ‘I’m glad you’re doing this, Dad, because hopefully it will help me and everyone else out there’.”

“JDRF has really allowed people to follow the scientific path that makes sense but also to follow their hearts and put their efforts in where it matters most.”

We are proud to support Dr. Meyer and his fellow scientists putting their efforts in to cure, prevent and treat T1D. Learn more about why career development is so important to JDRF, and meet more of the early-career scientists we support!

ByMonica Harrington