NEW YORK, June 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- JDRF presented three prestigious research awards to three experts whose groundbreaking research is accelerating life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat type 1 diabetes and its complications.
JDRF's annual research awards recognize researchers who are making progress on a wide array of scientific fronts. The recipients have vastly improved our understanding of type 1 diabetes and brought us closer to a world without this life-threatening disease. Their work is making strides in the areas of transplantation, causes of autoimmunity, and complications from type 1 diabetes.
The 2016 JDRF David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence was presented to A.M. James Shapiro MD, PhD, FRCSC, Canada Research Chair in Transplant Surgery and Regenerative Medicine and Clinical Senior Scholar with Alberta Innovates Healthcare Solutions for his pioneering research in pancreatic islet transplantation. Dr. Shapiro has been at the forefront in developing approaches to promote long-term engraftment of transplanted cadaveric islets. He has been a faculty member at the University of Alberta since 1998 after moving to Canada to train in liver and multi-organ transplant surgery. Dr. Shapiro currently leads a national Canadian project in ex vivo organ (liver, pancreas) transplant repair with the Canadian National Transplant Research Program. He has active clinical trials in islet and stem cell transplantation, restoration of self-tolerance and beta cell regeneration. Dr. Shapiro's previous honors and awards include receiving a Gold Medal in Surgery and a Governor-General's Gold Medal. He is a prestigious Hunterian Professor of The Royal College of Surgeons of England, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He was also recently inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.
The 2016 JDRF Gerold & Kayla Grodsky Basic Research Scientist Award was awarded to Pere Santamaria, MD, PhD, a Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases and Chair of the Julia McFarlane Diabetes Research Centre at the University of Calgary. Dr. Santamaria's research has helped elucidate our understanding of the mechanisms underlying autoimmunity, focusing on the cellular mechanisms that cause white blood cells to attack and destroy insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. His seminal discovery of a novel immunological regulatory circuitry and a novel nanoparticle vaccine targeting this circuitry has generated disease-specific therapeutic interventions for different autoimmune disorders, including type 1 diabetes. Dr. Santamaria has published more than 160 peer-reviewed articles and is a reviewer of many journals and national and international granting agencies including JDRF. He has received many honors and awards, including the Canadian Diabetes Association Young Scientist Award, the JDRF Scholar Award, and Alberta Science Technology Leadership Foundation 2013 Outstanding Leadership in Alberta Technology Award.
The 2016 JDRF Mary Tyler Moore and S. Robert Levine Excellence in Clinical Research Award was presented to George L. King, M.D., Senior Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Vascular Cell Biology at Joslin Diabetes Center and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His groundbreaking research has provided novel understanding of the biochemical and molecular basis of diabetic complications, and he has used this knowledge to develop new pharmacologic approaches for diabetic complications. His research has focused on exploring the effects of insulin and growth factors on blood vessels and how they contribute to diabetic complications, discovering new treatments for diabetic complications and understanding the reasons for the high rate of diabetes in Asian Americans. Recently, Dr. King has generated unique insights into the nature of diabetic complications through a landmark ongoing clinical research study (the Medalist Study) involving a large cohort of patients with a history of type 1 diabetes for over 50 years, many of whom have no significant retinopathy, nephropathy or neuropathy. Dr. King is a highly published author, with more than 270 articles and reviews published. His many honors and awards include: Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International "Donald Silver Excellence in Research", 2015 Edwin Bierman Lecture Award, American Diabetes Association
JDRF recognizes and appreciates these three outstanding scientists and all of the dedicated researchers and healthcare experts who commit their lives to T1D research.
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.
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