JDRF honors type 1 diabetes research leaders
New York, February 4, 2020–JDRF, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, today announced the winners of five 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; the David Rumbough Award; and the Robert Goldstein Award.
“We are excited to recognize these amazing researchers whose work supports and furthers the JDRF mission,” said JDRF Vice President of Research Sanjoy Dutta. “Because of their dedication and work, we have made great strides in the treatment and prevention of T1D, making critical progress toward cures for this disease.”
Åke Lernmark, Ph.D., received the JDRF George Eisenbarth Award for T1D Prevention for his work in examining the role of HLA and non-HLA genes and autoimmunity in the risk for type 1 diabetes. Dr. Lernmark is developing tests for beta cell autoimmunity and carrying out clinical trials to prevent–and thereby cure–type 1 diabetes. His laboratory cloned GAD65, a beta cell protein that is target by autoantibodies which strongly increase the risk for type 1 diabetes and developed a novel assay now in worldwide use to detect these autoantibodies. 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 Mary Tyler Moore and S. Robert Levine, M.D., Excellence in Clinical Research Award was awarded to Kevan Herold, M.D. of Yale University. Dr. Herold is widely recognized for his work on therapies for prevention and treatment of type 1 diabetes including teplizumab (also called PRV-301), an anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody that quiets the immune cells responsible for destroying insulin-producing beta cells. In partnership with TrialNet, he was the study chair for the first trial to show that immune therapy can delay the onset of type 1 diabetes for more than 2 years in individuals with a high risk of developing the disease. 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.
Chantal Mathieu, M.D., Ph.D., received the David Rumbough Award for her research which spans areas from understanding the role of the beta cell in its own destruction, the effects of vitamin D on the immune system and diabetes and clinical interventions in people with type 1 diabetes or their family members. Dr. Mathieu is professor of medicine at the Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven, Belgium, and serves as the chair of endocrinology at the University Hospital Gasthuisberg Leuven. The award honors individuals whose outstanding achievements have significantly accelerated the JDRF mission.
The Gerold and Kayla Grodsky Basic Research Scientist Award was awarded to Michael A. Weiss, M.D., Ph.D. of Indiana University. Dr. Weiss is Chair of the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and member of the Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases at the IU School of Medicine; he is also a member of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University. Dr. Weiss is being honored for his work on insulin structure and signaling, with application to therapeutic analog design. His laboratory was the first to decode the structures of insulin, proinsulin and rapid-acting analogs and to evaluate the mechanisms of the hormone binding to the insulin receptor. In 2008 he founded Thermalin Diabetes, Inc., which sought to design novel ultra-stable pump-based insulin analogs, and currently serves as chief innovation officer of its successor entity, Thermalin, Inc. This award is named in honor of Dr. Gerold Grodsky, a specialist in the synthesis and secretion of insulin, and his late wife, Kayla.
Teresa Rodriguez-Calvo, D.V.M., Ph.D. was awarded the Dr. Robert Goldstein Award for her work in understanding the development of type 1 diabetes. Dr. Rodriguez-Calvo, who is a junior group leader at the Institute of Diabetes Research at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, works in close collaboration with the JDRF-funded network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes (nPOD) to investigate if beta cells are dysfunctional before clinical onset. This award is named in honor of the late Dr. Robert Goldstein who played a pivotal role in developing JDRF’s Research Department and who served as chief scientific officer for JDRF International and JDRF Canada for over two decades.
JDRF’s longstanding commitment to accelerate research breakthroughs has directly funded more than $2.2 billion in scientific research while generating an additional $3 billion in private and government research investments. To learn more JDRF-funded research, visit http://www.