JDRF Mourns the Passing of Dr. Emil Unanue

It is with deep sadness that JDRF learns of the passing of Emil Unanue, M.D., a renowned immunologist and friend. Dr. Unanue made seminal contributions to immunology and to type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, including discoveries about the immune system that transformed the field, making groundbreaking findings that have opened the door into therapies for autoimmune diseases, including T1D.

In honor of his groundbreaking work, JDRF honored Dr. Unanue with its 2018 Gerold and Kayla Grodsky Basic Research Scientist Award, for his work examining the cellular and biochemical basis of recognition of antigens—a material that induces an immune response—by the immune system. Through Dr. Unanue’s research, fundamental steps in the recognition of diabetes-related antigens have been defined, a critical step in identifying future targets of immune therapy.

In addition to his research contributions, Dr. Unanue was a cherished JDRF partner. For decades, he helped JDRF develop our research strategy; he peer-reviewed countless grants; and he served as a trusted sounding board and confidant.

“Dr. Unanue was an incredible asset to JDRF for so many years,” said JDRF Chief Scientific Officer, Sanjoy Dutta, Ph.D. “His scientific contributions are considerable and, as a person, he was an incredible resource for every scientist who interacted with him. We will miss him dearly.”

Dr. Unanue helped us get closer to a cure for T1D. He will be missed.

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