Researchers Honored for Work in Diabetes Science
The American Diabetes Association’s annual Scientific Sessions provides a forum for researchers and clinicians to share their work with one another and with the diabetes community. It’s also a chance to honor the scientists, educators, and care providers who have made important contributions to the fields of diabetes research and care. Eight experts in diabetes research and care were honored at the ADA’s 77th Scientific Sessions in June. Four of these delivered award lectures at the conference. Recordings of their lectures are available online here.
Domenico Accili, MD
Award: Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement
Domenico Accili, MD, has a long and distinguished career as a diabetes researcher, particularly in the field of beta cell biology. His work revealed that beta cell failure in people with type 2 diabetes can result from the cells changing into cell types that produce different hormones and no longer make insulin. Using his research, researchers are beginning to develop a comprehensive picture of the beta cell, which may allow for the development of new drugs that could restore beta cell function or even “reprogram” cells in the intestines to release insulin like beta cells. More recently, Accili has focused his research on a specific gene, called FOXO, which increases the amount of glucose released from the liver and reduces the production of triglycerides. Accili hopes to eventually lay the groundwork to develop drugs that can selectively suppress FOXO’s effects on the liver, reducing the amount of glucose it releases.
Dana Dabalea, MD, PhD
Award: Kelly West award for Outstanding Achievement in Epidemiology
Dana Dabalea, MD, PhD, was one of the first researchers to note the increasing rate of type 2 diabetes in youth, and has been studying this topic for nearly 20 years. Her research has uncovered several key factors that affect how likely children in high-risk populations are to develop diabetes, including early-life nutrition and parental diabetes and obesity. By studying the causes of diabetes in children, she hopes to find ways to reduce the incidence of diabetes in the next generation of youth and adults.
Davida F. Kruger, MSN, APRN-BC, BC-ADM
Award: Outstanding Educator in Diabetes Award
Davida F. Kruger, MSN, APRN-BC, BC-ADM, has contributed a lifetime of work that has advanced the treatment of diabetes. As trial coordinator for the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Ms. Kruger was responsible for overseeing every aspect of the program: recruiting subjects, collecting data, and teaching participants how to use insulin pumps—revolutionary devices in the 1980s and ’90s. The DCCT made a groundbreaking discovery: Intensive blood glucose management can reduce diabetes-related complications. It also demonstrated the importance of nurses and nurse practitioners in diabetes care. Ms. Kruger also served with the American Diabetes Association as president of Health Care and Education, chair of the Research Foundation, and editor-in-chief of the journals Diabetes Spectrum and Clinical Diabetes.
Gregory R. Steinberg, PhD
Award: Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award
Gregory R. Steinberg, PhD, has spent his career researching how energy-sensing molecules inside cells act like fuel gauges to measure the status of nutrients in the body. His laboratory has discovered how exercise, cold temperature, and metformin act inside muscle, fat, or liver cells, respectively, to activate a molecule called AMP-kinase, which informs the body that its fuel level is low. Alternatively, when the body’s fuel level is high, the hormone serotonin is made and AMP-kinase is suppressed. This switch can be triggered by obesity or high-fat diets and promotes the storage of fat. Together, serotonin and AMP-kinase regulate how many calories you burn and how many you store. This research suggests the possibility that new drugs could be developed to block serotonin production or activate AMP-kinase to treat or prevent type 2 diabetes.
Several other researchers and clinicians were recognized for their contributions to diabetes research and treatment at Scientific Sessions. Click the links below to learn more:
Daryl K. Granner, MD: Albert Renold Award, recognizing careers distinguished by outstanding achievement in mentorship of diabetes research scientists.
Roger S. Mazze, PhD: Harold Rifkin Award, honoring individual outstanding service in the cause of diabetes that has been performed with an international perspective and with international impact.
William V. Tamborlane, MD: Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Diabetes Research Award, recognizing exceptional contributions in patient-oriented clinical outcomes research that have had a significant impact on diabetes prevention and treatment.
Ruth S. Weinstock, MD, PhD: Outstanding Physician Clinician in Diabetes Award , recognizing exceptional clinical knowledge and expertise in the care of patients with diabetes.
In addition to the National Scientific and Health Care Achievement Awards, four of the Association’s Professional Interest Groups awarded individuals in their fields at the Scientific Sessions. These include:
Mark E. Cooper, AO, MB BS, PhD, FRACP: Edwin Bierman Award, honoring a leading scientist in the field of diabetes complications.
Gernot Desoye, PhD: Norbert Freinkel Award, recognizing outstanding contributions to research and clinical care in the field of diabetes and pregnancy.
Michael A. Harris, PhD: Richard R. Rubin Award, recognizing a behavioral researcher who has made outstanding, innovative contributions to the study and understanding of behavioral aspects of diabetes in diverse populations.
Dane K. Wukich, MD: Roger Pecoraro Award, recognizing a researcher who has demonstrated an untiring commitment to understanding, detecting, treating, and preventing diabetic food complications.