American Diabetes Association Announces Recipients of The American Diabetes Association and GSK Research Award

Alexandria, Virginia
May 20, 2014

The American Diabetes Association (Association) is pleased to announce the recipients of The American Diabetes Association and GSK Research Award. The $1.5 million award, made possible through GSK, supports a series of research grants focusing on the relationship between nutrition, the microbiome and metabolic pathologies, like obesity and diabetes.

“As a leader in the fight to Stop Diabetes®, the American Diabetes Association is excited to join with GSK to announce the recipients of The American Diabetes Association and GSK Research Award,” said Elizabeth R. Seaquist, MD, President, Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association. “These grants will fund research that is critical to helping us understand the role of the microbiome, and gain further knowledge about the connection between diabetes and obesity.”

The recipients of the award are:

  • Jacob E.  Friedman, PhD, University of Colorado, Denver: Friedman’s research, “The Role of Maternal Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes on the Development of the Infant Microbiome and Adiposity,” will test the hypothesis that adiposity development in children is, at least in part, mediated through exposure of infants to an abnormal maternal microbiome early in life.
  • Maria Louise Marco, PhD, University of California, Davis: Marco’s research, “The mechanisms of resistant starch and lactobacillus effects on the intestinal microbiota and protection against obesity and insulin resistance,” will investigate how two common food ingredients, fermentable carbohydrates (resistant starch) and lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacilllus), may improve health through alteration of the bacterial diversity and metabolic profiles of the intestinal microbiota.
  • Nicolas Musi, MD, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio: Musi’s research, “The mechanism of microbiome-induced insulin resistance in humans,” will examine whether changes in the composition of gut bacteria as a result of a high-fat diet alter the amount of endotoxin that enters the bloodstream.  The research will also test whether reducing the level of endotoxin in the blood of people who are obese and have type 2 diabetes improves glucose metabolism and whether compounds that block endotoxin can improve the ability of human muscle cells to metabolize glucose.

The microbiome has long been recognized for its role in the gastrointestinal tract, but more needs to be done to evaluate the emerging regulatory role it plays in metabolism. The American Diabetes Association and GSK Research Award was created to support research aimed at understanding the impact of changes in diet, lifestyle and/or therapeutics on microbiome composition and function; and the mechanistic pathways through which microbiome composition and function may impact host metabolic function.  The grants are each three-year awards. For more information, please visit

“As we learn more about the microbiome’s role in human health and disease there are many potential benefits, ranging from a better understanding of how an individual’s microbiome might affect their long-term wellness, to finding new ways to treat diseases through changing the microbiome. Gut bacteria often play a role in how we metabolize medicines. Profiling the microbiome could help us to understand this role and influence the medicines we develop,” said Murray Stewart, Chief Medical Officer, Pharmaceuticals, GSK.

“The fact that our gut bacteria have evolved over the eons to interact with our immune system offers the exciting potential that the metabolites produced by the microbiome itself could be a source of new, safe and effective drugs. GSK scientists are studying the gut microbiome and how it has been linked to the development of conditions including obesity and type 2 diabetes. This is why we believe in this research and have chosen to work with the American Diabetes Association to fund it,” said Stewart.

To further stimulate progress in microbiome research relevant to diabetes, the Association, along with JDRF, will convene national and global research expertise at the Diabetes and the Microbiome Research Symposium. Held in October, this program will offer featured symposia, including lectures by world-renowned leaders in the field.  The activity will focus on emerging science and the clinical implications of the microbiome in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. To learn more about the program, visit

Throughout the years, the Association has funded innovative and groundbreaking diabetes research and has invested approximately $675 million in more than 4,000 research projects. The Association’s research allows people to lead healthier and more productive lives every day.

About the American Diabetes Association

Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes; and every 21 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The ADA drives discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with diabetes. In addition, the ADA supports people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes, and the health care professionals who serve them through information and programs that can improve health outcomes and quality of life. For more information, please call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)