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American Diabetes Association Announces Research Award Recipients

Pathway to Stop Diabetes Will Provide Funding for Innovative Diabetes Researchers

ALEXANDRIA, VA -- (Marketwired) -- 01/09/14 -- With nearly 26 million adults and children in the U.S. living with diabetes, and another 79 million living with prediabetes, diabetes is a physical and financial burden for the health of the nation. To accelerate the research needed to discover solutions to this deadly epidemic, the American Diabetes Association's bold initiative, Pathway to Stop Diabetes, aims to fund 100 new diabetes researchers over the next decade. Today, the Association announced the first group of researchers who will receive grant support through this innovative program to focus on transformational research approaches to Stop Diabetes®.

"Today, nearly one in eight American adults is living with diabetes, and diagnosed diabetes costs our nation $245 billion each year. The problem of diabetes is unprecedented, so our solution must match it," said C. Ronald Kahn, MD, Chairman of the Pathway Mentor Advisory Group, American Diabetes Association. "Through identifying and supporting innovative researchers, Pathway to Stop Diabetes is designed to radically transform diabetes research, setting us on the road to breakthrough discoveries, and ultimately a cure to this deadly disease."

The recipients of the 2013 Pathway Awards are:

  • Joshua Thaler, MD, PhD, University of Washington, in Seattle, received a Pathway Accelerator Award for his basic research project entitled, "Modulating Glial-Neuronal Interactions to Treat Obesity and Diabetes".
  • Kathleen Page, MD, University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, received a Pathway Accelerator Award for her translational research project entitled, "Neural Mechanisms in Maternal-Fetal Programming for Obesity and Diabetes".
  • Wolfgang Peti, PhD, Brown University, in Providence, R.I., received an Accelerator New to Diabetes Award for his project entitled, "Novel, Innovative Insights into Insulin Signaling and Regulation Using NMR Spectroscopy".
  • Michael Dennis, PhD, Pennsylvania State University, in Hershey, Pa., received an Initiator Award for his basic research project entitled, "Hyperglycemia-Induced Translational Control of Gene Expression in the Retina".
  • Stephen Parker, PhD, National Human Genome Research Institute, in Bethesda, Md., received an Initiator Award for his basic research project entitled, "Deconstructing Type 2 Diabetes Using Genome-Wide High-Density Multi-Tissue 'Omics' Profiling".

With more than $7 million in generous gifts from individuals and $25 million in corporate support from Sanofi, Novo Nordisk Inc., the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation and the AstraZeneca/Bristol Myers-Squibb Diabetes Alliance, Pathway candidates were identified through institutional nominations, where accredited U.S. academic and nonprofit research institutions were asked to identify and put forward their most creative and brilliant scientists. These scientists, who are just starting their careers in diabetes research, or who are already established in another field but want to expand their focus to diabetes research, were asked to propose creative and transformational ideas for diabetes research projects.

"Sanofi continues to be a proud supporter of Pathway to Stop Diabetes and our enthusiasm builds as each milestone of this program is reached. We congratulate this initial class of award recipients and look forward to seeing how these innovative researchers will help discover breakthroughs that will address this growing epidemic," said Dennis Urbaniak, Vice President and Head of the U.S. Diabetes Patient Centered Unit, Sanofi US.

Pathway awards will provide $1.625 million in support for five to seven years for the selected investigators and will fund research relevant to any diabetes type, diabetes-related disease state or diabetes complication. Nominations included a broad range of disciplines, including medicine, biology, chemistry, engineering, physics and mathematics.

"We have seen remarkable innovations in diabetes care and treatment over the years. Pathway to Stop Diabetes marks an important collective commitment to the future of discovery by supporting creative and transformational research among promising scientists, and cultivating a robust, supportive environment for their work," said Gwen Krivi, PhD, Vice President, Lilly Diabetes product development. "This first class of Pathway Award recipients is most impressive. It is our hope that their work will provide new insights that can further improve the lives of people with or at risk for diabetes."

Pathway scientists were selected by the Association's Pathway Mentor Advisory Group -- a group of eminent scientists who selected the awardees using the core elements for exceptional science: rigorous thought processes, keen intellect, and the capacity for innovation and creativity. In addition to participating in the selection process, the Mentor Advisors will provide ongoing scientific and career advice to the selected scientists throughout the duration of the awards, creating a challenging environment for transformative science to thrive.

"Novo Nordisk is proud to sponsor Pathway to Stop Diabetes. Increased research in order to better understand diabetes is one of the greatest weapons we have to combat this epidemic," said Todd Hobbs, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Novo Nordisk Inc. "Pathway to Stop Diabetes will attract the most passionate researchers in the field, accelerating their groundbreaking work to hopefully one day put an end to this disease."

In addition to substantial and flexible financial support, and an environment of strong mentorship, Pathway will provide scientists with networks for communication and collaboration; special symposia and speaking engagements; and unique collaborative opportunities that will accelerate the advancement and translation of their science, and lead to breakthrough discoveries.

"The AstraZeneca/Bristol-Myers Squibb Diabetes Alliance recognizes the need for a broader approach to diabetes management and is proud to work with the American Diabetes Association on Pathway to Stop Diabetes," said Rich Daly, President, U.S. Diabetes Alliance. "We look forward to following the progress of the Pathway award researchers as they work to discover innovative treatment options and solutions to address a wide range of needs for patients living with the many burdens of diabetes."

To learn more, visit diabetes.org/pathway.

The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes® and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.

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