JDRF Recognizes Top Leaders in Type 1 Diabetes Research

Honorees demonstrate exemplary commitment to treat, prevent and cure T1D


NEW YORK, September 26, 2018 — JDRF, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, announced today the winners of its four prestigious research awards: the George Eisenbarth Award for T1D Prevention; the Gerold and Kayla Grodsky Basic Research Scientist Award; the Mary Tyler Moore and S. Robert Levine, M.D., Excellence in Clinical Research Award; and the David Rumbough Award, an award for research that furthers the JDRF mission. Each researcher is being honored for outstanding contributions to T1D research.

“JDRF is honored to recognize these researchers, who represent a vital part of the type 1 diabetes community,” said JDRF Chief Mission Officer Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D. “Because of their work, we have made great strides in the treatment and prevention of T1D, making critical progress toward a cure.”

Anette-Gabriele Ziegler, M.D., Ph.D., received the JDRF George Eisenbarth Award for T1D Prevention for her work in understanding the pathogenesis of T1D and dedication to preventing the onset of the disease. Dr. Ziegler’s work led to the foundation for the international clinical trial TEDDY, which aims to identify environmental triggers for T1D, as well as Fr1da, the first population-based health screening for early-stage markers of T1D. The award was established in 2013 in memory of esteemed researcher, George S. Eisenbarth, M.D., Ph.D., who transformed the scientific community’s understanding of T1D.

The Gerold and Kayla Grodsky Basic Research Scientist Award was awarded to Emil Unanue, M.D., for his work examining the cellular and biochemical basis of recognition of protein antigens by the immune system. Through Dr. Unanue’s research, fundamental steps in the recognition of diabetogenic antigens have been defined, a critical step in identifying future targets of immunotherapy. This award is named in honor of Dr. Gerold Grodsky, a specialist in the synthesis and secretion of insulin, and his late wife, Kayla.

Jennifer Sun, M.D., M.P.H., received the Mary Tyler Moore and S. Robert Levine, M.D., Excellence in Clinical Research Award this year for her work in diabetic retinal disease clinical trials and treatment for diabetic eye diseases. Dr. Sun focuses on the critical gap of identifying and developing novel biomarkers for diabetic retinopathy, and diabetic macular edema progression and treatment response. This award was established in honor of the late actress Mary Tyler Moore, who served as chairman of JDRF International from 1984 until her death in 2017, and her husband Dr. Levine, who remains committed to JDRF’s mission.

The David Rumbough Award was awarded to Bruce Buckingham, M.D., for his research that contributed to making artificial pancreas (AP) systems a reality. Buckingham was the principal investigator on the JDRF multi-center continuous glucose monitoring study, which validated the use of these devices and laid the foundation for the AP. He also conducted the first studies testing the only AP currently on the market, which has dramatically changed the treatment of T1D. The David Rumbough Award was established more than 40 years ago by actress Dina Merrill in memory of her son, who had T1D. The award honors individuals whose outstanding achievements have significantly accelerated the JDRF mission.

JDRF’s longstanding commitment to accelerate research breakthroughs has directly funded more than $2 billion in scientific research while generating an additional $3 billion in private and government research investments. To learn more JDRF-funded research, visit www.jdrf.org/research.




About T1D
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and—at present—nothing you can do to get rid of it.

About JDRF
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 $2.2 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