The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation recently awarded its top honors to three noted scientists. The awards were presented at the 2008 Spring Research Review Awards Dinner.
The David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence was established in 1974 by the actress Dina Merrill, in honor of her late son, David. It is the highest honor JDRF awards, and is presented annually to researchers for outstanding achievement and commitment to diabetes research and for their service to JDRF. Michael Brownlee, MD, and Michael German, MD, received the 2008 Rumbough Award.
The Gerold & Kayla Grodsky Basic Research Scientist Award is presented annually to a basic research scientist who has made outstanding contributions to diabetes research. JDRF established the award in 1993 to honor the contributions of Dr. Grodsky's diabetes research at University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) over four decades. This year's recipient is Maike Sander, MD.
Of the presentation, Dina Merrill said she was "honored to join with you tonight in the presentation of the David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence, which was established in honor of my late, beloved son, David. He would have been very pleased to know that research towards a cure is progressing rapidly and improving the lives of so many. Keep up the good work."
Michael Brownlee, MD, the Anita and Jack Saltz Professor of Diabetes Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine is one of the most respected and influential scientists in his field. He is noted for his innovative approach to understanding the biochemical basis of diabetic complications. Internationally recognized for his research, Dr. Brownlee discovered a novel molecular pathway linking hyperglycemia to diabetic retinopathy, a complication of the disease.
Dr. Brownlee is also the Director of the JDRF International Center for Diabetic Complications Research. All of the projects in this Center share an overriding aim: to develop innovative, highly effective therapies for preventing the development and progression of retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, and atherosclerosis in type 1 patients. In 2006, JDRF awarded Dr. Brownlee with the Scholar Award.
His other scientific awards include the American Diabetes Association's Banting Medal and Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes' Claude Bernard Medal, Columbia University's Naomi Berrie Award, and Duke University Medical School's Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Michael German, MD, is a Professor in the Department of Medicine at UCSF, Associate Director and Clinical Director of the UCSF Diabetes Center, Director of the Hillblom Islet Genesis Network and the UCSF NIH Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center (DERC), and a Principle Investigator in the Hormone Research Institute. Understanding the structure and development of pancreatic beta cells is the main focus of Dr. German's research. He is the recipient of three other awards given by JDRF: the Scholar Award (2007), Living and Giving Award (2004), and Career Development Award (1991-1994).
Maike Sander, MD, Associate Professor in the Department of Developmental & Cell Biology at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of California at Irvine and the recipient of the Grodsky Award, is committed to understanding the importance of a specific class of factors for the development and function of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. She is also a recipient of the JDRF Career Development Award (2001-2006).
JDRF was founded in 1970 by the parents of children with type 1 diabetes -- a disease that strikes children, adolescents, and adults suddenly, makes them insulin dependent for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications. Since inception, JDRF has provided more than $1.16 billion to diabetes research worldwide. More than 85 percent of JDRF's expenditures directly support research and research-related education. JDRF's mission is constant: to find a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications through the support of research. For more information please visit www.jdrf.org