Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement Award
Barbara E. Corkey, PhD
Barbara E. Corkey, PhD, from Boston, Massachusetts, received the American Diabetes Association’s prestigious 2011 Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement Award. The award was presented at the Association’s 71st Scientific Sessions in San Diego, California.
The Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement Award is the Association’s highest scientific award and honors an individual who has made significant, long-term contributions to our understanding of diabetes, its treatment and/or prevention. The award is named after Nobel Prize winner Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin treatment for diabetes.
Currently Vice Chair of Research in the Evans Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, and director of the Obesity Research Center at Boston Medical Center, Corkey has been a leader in the fields of metabolism, diabetes, and obesity for over 35 years. Her seminal work on the molecular basis of nutrient signal transduction has had a major impact on our current understanding of health and disease.
Early in her career, Corkey developed metabolite assays that allowed insight into metabolic regulation. Her studies showed that oscillations in beta cell Ca2+ fluxes influence pulsatile insulin secretion, and that oscillations in beta cell metabolism synchronize the oscillatory nature of electrical activity and Ca2+ flux for controlling insulin secretion. This is fundamental to our knowledge of beta cell function. She also showed that anaplerosis, malonyl-CoA, reactive oxygen species, and long chain acyl-CoA esters are linked to fuel metabolism and control of insulin secretion in beta cells. She showed that these metabolites have functional roles in adipocytes, and she developed the concept of glucolipotoxicity, whereby elevated glucose and lipids cause tissue malfunction in diabetes.