JDRF Recognizes Leading Type 1 Diabetes Researchers

–Prestigious annual JDRF awards announced for outstanding contributions to type 1 diabetes research–

New York, NY, December 4, 2013 – JDRF, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, announced today the recipients of the 2013 JDRF awards for outstanding contributions to T1D research. The awards were announced at a meeting of the JDRF Board of Directors.

“These prestigious awards are a way for JDRF to honor leading scientists, whose dedication and superb scientific contributions make a tremendous impact on type 1 diabetes research,” said Richard Insel, M.D., chief scientific officer at JDRF. “It is through the efforts to scientists like this year’s award recipients that we will ultimately create a world without type 1 diabetes.  Their outstanding work solidifies our commitment to find and deliver better treatments and a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications.”

This year’s recipients include:

Decio L. Eizirik, M.D., Ph.D., recipient of JDRF’s 2013 David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence for his pioneering research into the role beta cells play in amplifying the immune attack on themselves. Dr. Eizirik is a full professor and director of the Laboratory of Experimental Medicine, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. He has published more than 270 papers in international journals and has received several national and international prizes. Dr. Eizirik’s work aims to understand the molecular mechanisms regulating beta cell stress and beta cell death in T1D, and to identify novel approaches to prevent the progressive loss of beta cells in diabetes. His insights helped introduce a paradigm shift in the T1D field about core disease processes, indicating that the “battle” leading to beta cell loss in diabetes is fought, to a large extent, inside the beta cell. These insights may lead to novel concepts for slowing or preventing beta cell loss.

Established in 1974 by actress Dina Merrill in honor of her late son, David, the Rumbough Award is presented annually by JDRF in recognition of outstanding achievement in diabetes research.

Seung K. Kim, M.D., Ph.D., recipient of JDRF’s 2013 Gerold and Kayla Grodsky Basic Research Scientist Award for his pioneering discoveries of new approaches to create, expand, and regenerate insulin-producing beta cells. Dr. Kim has been a faculty member at Stanford University School of Medicine since 1998 and is a professor in the departments of Developmental Biology and Medicine. His laboratory has isolated stem and progenitor cells from the pancreas and elucidated new molecular pathways that control functional maturation and proliferation of pancreatic cells in physiological and pathological settings. They envision that modulation of these pathways will be useful for generating cell-based therapies and early diagnostics for T1D. Dr. Kim’s research could also one day lead to drug therapies that accelerate the regrowth of new beta cells in individuals with T1D – a key component of curing this disease.

The Grodsky Award recognizes a basic research scientist who has made outstanding pioneering contributions to T1D research. The award was established by JDRF in 1993 thanks to a gift from Gerold and Kayla Grodsky, and honors the contributions of Dr. Gerold Grodsky’s four decades of diabetes research at the University of California at San Francisco.

This past September at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, JDRF also honored three talented scientists with its prestigious Mary Tyler Moore and S. Robert Levine, M.D., Excellence in Clinical Research Award, recognizing their important contributions toward understanding the natural history and pathogenesis of T1D in children. The awardees were Anette-Gabriele Ziegler, M.D. of the Technical University of Munich, Marian Rewers, M.D. of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and Olli Simell, M.D., Ph.D. of the University of Turku.


About JDRF

JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. JDRF’s goal is to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we achieve a world without T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, regulatory influence, and a working plan to better treat, prevent, and eventually cure T1D.

As the largest charitable supporter of T1D research, JDRF is currently sponsoring $530 million in scientific research in 17 countries. In 2012 alone, JDRF provided more than $110 million to T1D research. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education. In 2012 Forbes magazine named JDRF one of its five All-Star charities, citing the organization’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Media Contact:
Tara Wilcox-Ghanoonparvar