JDRF Recognizes Type 1 Diabetes Champions

JDRF’s Annual Research Award Recipients Include a Prominent Diabetes Leader, a Pioneer in Beta Cell Rejuvenation and a Dedicated Visionary in T1D Research

New York, NY September 29, 2015 – JDRF presented three prestigious awards to a group of experts whose groundbreaking work is accelerating life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat type 1 diabetes (T1D) and its complications.

Each year, the awards recognize individuals who are making advances on a range of scientific fronts. The recipients have improved our understanding of T1D and brought us closer to understand this life-threatening disease. Their combined work is making strides in the areas of prevention ofT1D, islet cell generation and T1D screening.

The 2015 JDRF David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence was presented to Judith Fradkin, M.D., Director, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases within the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Fradkin has played a major leadership role in T1D research through leading and coordinating the planning and implementation of research funded by the Special Diabetes Program, budgeted for more than 2 billion dollars since 1998. This Program has initiated and championed multiple significant research projects, focused on topics including T1D prevention, beta cell biology, artificial pancreas technologies, eye therapies, and kidney disease. These efforts have provided a new understanding and exciting therapeutic opportunities for T1D. Dr. Fradkin has worked closely and effectively for over two decades to promote the common mission of JDRF and NIH of developing better treatments, and the prevention, and cure of T1D.

The 2015 JDRF Gerold & Kayla Grodsky Basic Research Scientist Award was awarded to Matthias Hebrok, Ph.D., Head of the University California San Francisco Diabetes Center, whose research has provided insights into the development of functional insulin-producing beta cells from embryonic stem cells. His work in pancreatic and beta cell differentiation and islet cell generation has led to a better understanding of diabetes. Dr. Hebrok has identified that a person’s beta cells do not die suddenly in T1D, but that beta cell function is lost over time. This information suggests that beta cell function could be restored during early stages of diabetes if the underlying stressors that lead to the demise of the beta cells are reduced or eliminated.

The 2015 JDRF Mary Tyler Moore and S. Robert Levine Excellence in Clinical Research Award was presented to Jay S. Skyler, M.D., M.A.C.P., Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Psychology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Deputy Director for Clinical Research and Academic Programs at the Diabetes Research Institute. Dr. Skyler was recognized for his dedication for the last four decades in clinical and translational research, his commitment to improve patient care and his leadership role with TrialNet. Dr. Skyler first served as the Study Chairman for the nationwide multi-center known as the Diabetes Prevention Trial for Type 1 diabetes (DPT-1), determining if it is possible to delay or prevent the clinical onset of T1D through daily doses of insulin, until he became the Study Chairman of NIH-sponsored TrialNet. As the Chairman for 22 years, Dr. Skyler led an international network of 200 centers which offered a variety of intervention trials for newly diagnosed T1D and for presymptomatic at-risk individuals to stop or slow the progression of T1D.

JDRF recognizes all the dedicated researchers and healthcare experts who commit their lives to T1D research.

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 nearly $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 in more than 100 locations 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.