Research Excellence Honorees
Read about the inspiring individuals who have been recognized for excellence and innovation in diabetes research.
Thomas R. Lee Award
The American Diabetes Association established the Thomas R. Lee Award, granted annually, to recognize the highest scoring Junior Faculty Development Award applicant. Awardees receive $138,000 per year for four years to advance their research careers as young, independent diabetes investigators.
Thomas R. Lee was born in 1909 to a family of hardworking farmers in Norfolk, Virginia. He was a skilled business man and property developer who demonstrated tremendous kindness to others and generously supported the causes for which he was most passionate. Inspired by his personal sense of philanthropy and his own battle with diabetes, he donated a charitable portion of his estate to the American Diabetes Association.
The 2016 Thomas R. Lee Award recipient is Bradford Hill, PhD, from the University of Louisville. Dr. Hill's grant, "Diabetic Dysfunction of Stem Cells," aims to identify the metabolic properties of cardiac stem cells and to determine how diabetes might impact the use of these cells as a therapy for heart failure. These studies could lead to novel therapies to increase the efficacy of cell therapy in people with diabetes.
The 2015 Thomas R. Lee Award recipient was Shaodong Guo, PhD, from Texas A&M University. Dr. Guo's grant, "Control of Liver Fibrosis and Failure by Insulin Resistance and FoxO Signaling," is investigating how insulin resistance leads to liver fibrosis and liver failure. The project sets out to test whether the insulin-suppressed transcription factor FoxO1 is one of the mediators controlling liver fibrosis and whether it could serve as a new target for drug development to treat type 2 diabetes-associated liver dysfunction.
Gail Patrick Innovation Award
The Gail Patrick Innovation Award is granted annually to the highest scoring Innovative Basic Science Award applicant. Awardees receive $115,000 per year for up to three years to support pursuit of an innovative idea that advances the American Diabetes Association's efforts to prevent, treat and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by the disease.
Gail Patrick was one of the first non-physicians elected to the American Diabetes Association Board of Directors. A person with type 1 diabetes, she led an active life. She was a movie star and producer of the Perry Mason television series. In 1973, she became the first Chair of the American Diabetes Association Board and successfully led the organization through its transition into a voluntary health agency.
The 2016 recipient of the Gail Patrick Innovation Award is Christian Faul, PhD, from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Faul's grant, "FGF21 Causes Left Ventricular Hypertrophy,"focuses on identifying how left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) occurs and may be prevented in diabetes. LVH is a disproportional growth of individual muscle cells in the heart, leading to increased heart weight and heart failure. People with diabetes are at high risk of developing LVH, and heart failure is the leading cause of death in diabetes.
The 2015 recipient of the Gail Patrick Innovation Award was Wang Wang, MD, PhD, from the University of Washington. Dr. Wang's project, titled "Source and Sites of Action of Hydrogen Peroxide in Mitochondria and Cytosol of Pancreatic Islets," focuses on innovative imaging studies to examine the mechanism by which hydrogen peroxide stimulates insulin secretion and whether this mechanism is disrupted in type 2 diabetes, where beta cells fail to compensate for insulin resistance. The results may define new therapeutic targets and treatments to ameliorate type 2 diabetes symptoms and complications.