―JDRF’s Annual Research Award Recipients Honored at Annual JDRF One Conference in Chicago―
New York, NY June 14, 2017 – JDRF presented three prestigious research awards to three experts whose groundbreaking research is accelerating life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat type 1 diabetes (T1D) and its complications.
JDRF’s annual research awards recognize researchers who are making advancements on a wide array of scientific fronts. The recipients have significantly improved our understanding of type 1 diabetes and brought us closer to a world without this life-threatening disease. Their work is making strides in the areas of antigen-specific autoimmunity, artificial pancreas therapies and causes and treatments of diabetic eye disease in T1D.
The 2017 JDRF David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence was presented to Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD. Dr. Bluestone is the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professor of Metabolism and Endocrinology and is the Director of the Hormone Research Institute at the University of California San Francisco Diabetes Center. Dr. Bluestone is one of the leading immunologists in the field of T-cell activation, co-stimulation, and immune tolerance research that has led to the development of multiple pro-tolerogenic immunotherapies including: the first FDA-approved drug targeting T-cell co-stimulation to treat autoimmune disease and organ transplantation, a novel anti-human CD3 antibody and repurposing a cancer drug, (Gleevec) being developed to treat type 1 diabetes, and the first checkpoint immunotherapy for the treatment of metastatic melanoma and lung cancer. Dr. Bluestone’ research has recently focused on a specialized subset of T cells termed “regulatory T cells” (Treg). Dr. Bluestone has made significant contributions to the research enterprise at UCSF, including the creation and directorship of an integrated UCSF Diabetes Center to focus on translating basic research in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes into improved therapies for patients and nationally with the founding of the Immune Tolerance Network and, most recently, the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. He has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed publications in Nature, Nature Immunology, Immunity, Science Translation Medicine and Diabetes. He has received numerous accolades including his 2006 election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Mary Tyler Moore & Robert Levine Excellence in Clinical Research Award from JDRF, and the distinguished alumni award from the Cornell Graduate School of Medical Science, and the JDRF Gerold & Kayla Grodsky Basic Research Scientist Award.
The 2017 JDRF Gerold & Kayla Grodsky Basic Research Scientist Award Award was awarded to Roman Hovorka, PhD, FMedSci. Dr. Hovorka is Director of Research, and head of Diabetes Modelling Group, Department of Paediatrics; Principal Investigator at Metabolic Research Laboratories, the Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. He has been dedicated to gaining insights into physiology through mathematical modelling and developing control algorithms, the step-by-step calculations that lie at the heart of the artificial pancreas. Dr. Hovorka joined the University of Cambridge in 2004 to pursue his work on the artificial pancreas, a medical device that measures blood glucose levels on a minute-to-minute basis using a continuous glucose monitor, and transmits this information to a control algorithm, which instructs an insulin pump to release the required amount of insulin into the body. He is a member of JDRF’s Artificial Pancreas Consortium, leading the development and testing of the artificial pancreas in type 1 diabetes. His work includes the development of a computer-based simulation environment, to evaluate and optimize the system performance prior to clinical investigations – more generally, supporting the diagnosis and treatment of metabolic diseases using mathematical modelling techniques with particular focus on diabetes. He uses existing and develops new methods to quantify insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, and metabolic fluxes under steady and non-steady state conditions with deterministic and stochastic modelling techniques. Dr. Hovorka has received multiple awards including the May 2017 Award: Fellow of The Academy of Medical Sciences, the October 2015 Award: Artificial Pancreas Award, Diabetes Technology Society, the September 2015 Award: Innovation Prize in Pediatric Diabetes Care, International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes and the March 2013 Award: Dorothy Hodgkin Named Lecture, Diabetes UK.
The 2017 JDRF Mary Tyler Moore and S. Robert Levine Excellence in Clinical Research Award was presented to Lloyd Paul Aiello, MD, PhD. Dr. Aiello serves as Director of the Beetham Eye Institute at Joslin Diabetes Center, Head of Joslin’s Section on Eye Research, and Professor of Ophthalmology and Vice Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Aiello was the inaugural chair of the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network and focuses his clinical and research interests on eliminating vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy and other related retinopathies. His research aims to determine the underlying biochemistry and molecular mechanisms of these diseases, then develop and test novel therapeutic interventions through rigorous translational and clinical trial research. The pioneering work of Dr. Aiello helped demonstrate the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in diabetic retinopathy and other retinal disorders, as well as the therapeutic potential of VEGF inhibitors in these conditions. Dr. Aiello and colleagues at the Joslin Diabetes Center also published the first evidence that protein kinase C-beta (PKC-beta) and plasma kallikrein are involved in vascular leakage in diabetic retinopathy. Dr. Aiello is recognized internationally for his leadership in diabetic retinopathy research. In 2002, he helped found and then served as the inaugural chair of the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network (DRCR.net), a national collaborative network dedicated to facilitating multicenter clinical research for diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, and related disorders. Funded by the National Eye Institute, DRCR.net now includes over 150 centers nationwide representing academic medical institutions and private practice groups.
JDRF recognizes and appreciates these three outstanding scientists and all of the dedicated researchers and healthcare experts who commit their lives to T1D research.
JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Our mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than $2 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout the United States and our six international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit jdrf.org or follow us on Twitter: @JDRF.