Researchers Honored at JDRF Annual Conference for Scientific Excellence

Prestigious Awards Presented for Outstanding Work on Diabetes Research

Contact: Joana Casas, JDRF Media Relations,


WASHINGTON, D.C., May 21, 2010 - A group of pioneering scientists who have made outstanding contributions to diabetes research were recognized today by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation with two prestigious awards, the Gerold & Kayla Grodsky Basic Research Scientist Award and the David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence. The awards were presented during JDRF's Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

The award recipients for the Gerold & Kayla Basic Research Scientist Award are Dr. Markus Stoffel, Professor of Metabolic Diseases at the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology at ETH Zurich, and Dr. Yuval Dor, a scientist at Hebrew University Medical School in Jerusalem. The award is presented annually to a scientist or a team of scientists to recognize their leadership and innovation in type 1 diabetes research.

The award recipients for the David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence are Dr. Gerald Nepom, director of the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason and the JDRF-BRI Center for Translational Research in Seattle, Washington; Dr. Stephen Rich, a genetic epidemiologist and director of University of Virginia Center for Public Health Genomics; Dr. Anne Marie Schmidt, Chief of the Division of Surgical Science and the Gerald and Janet Carrus Professor of Surgical Science at Columbia University; and Dr. Douglas Melton of Harvard University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Established almost 40 years ago by actress Dina Merrill in honor of her late son, David, the Rumbough Award is presented annually in recognition of outstanding achievement in diabetes research and service to JDRF.

"The scientists who received these awards today represent the best and the brightest, and are the embodiment of the hope and commitment each and everyone of us has that treatments will soon be a reality, and that a cure is inevitable," said Dr. Richard Insel, Executive Vice President of Research at JDRF.

Dr. Stoffel's research has focused on the molecular mechanisms that regulate glucose and lipid homeostasis, insulin secretion, and insulin signaling; he also investigates the control of gene regulatory networks through transcription factors and small molecules. Among his major scientific contributions are the identification of growth-promoting genes and networks in pancreatic beta-cells, and the discovery and characterization of microRNAs in the control of pancreatic beta cell growth and metabolism.

Dr. Dor and his team stunned the diabetes research field when they discovered that the main source of new beta cells is the duplication of existing beta cells, rather than adult stem cells. Using a novel genetic-lineage tracing method, this discovery highlighted the importance of beta cells as a potential source of new beta cells, challenging the idea that adult pancreatic stem cells give rise to new beta cells.

Founding BRI's immunology and diabetes research programs, Dr. Nepom's leadership has made BRI the foremost type 1 diabetes translational research and clinical trials center in the Pacific Northwest. His contributions to the diabetes field also include the identification and characterization of immune system genes associated with type 1 diabetes and the use to "tetramer" biomarker technology.

Dr. Rich's long-term interests in the genetic basis of type 1 diabetes led establishing the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium at Wake Forest University, with support from JDRF and the National Istitutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. That effort led to the identification of over 40 regions in the human genome that contain genes affecting type 1 diabetes risk.

Dr. Schmidt's basic and translational research has focused on the contribution of a molecule called "RAGE" to heart disease-related vascular injury, particularly in type 1 diabetes and its complications. RAGE is a cell-surface receptor that exacerbates inflammation and causes cellular damage when activated. As a member of the team that discovered RAGE, her work defined the receptor's multi-ligand nature, establishing the molecule's fundamental role in diabetes and the inflammatory response. It has also led to the testing of therapeutics with the potential to address diabetic complications.

Dr. Melton has become one of the leading figures in type 1 diabetes research. A leading researcher and advocate for human embryonic stem cell research, Dr. Melton's laboratory at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute investigates the genes and cells that make pancreatic tissue during normal development, with the goal of generating human pancreatic cells for transplantation into people with diabetes. He has also been named twice to Time magazine's annual list of the world's 100 most influential people.

About JDRF

JDRF is a leader in setting the agenda for diabetes research worldwide, and is the largest charitable funder and advocate of type 1 research. The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Type 1 diabetes is a disease which strikes children and adults suddenly and requires multiple injections of insulin daily or a continuous infusion of insulin through a pump. Insulin, however, is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it prevent its eventual and devastating complications which may include kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke, and amputation.

Since its founding in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, JDRF has awarded more than $1.4 billion to diabetes research, including more than $100 million last year.

For more information, please visit

2010 Gala Finding A Cure: A Love Story

Thank you so much to everyone who helped make the 2010 Gala a success! This event would not have been possible without all of the hard work and dedication from so many volunteers and JDRF supporters. We want to give a special thanks to Mitchell and Nina Quaranta, and Terry and Louise Gregg who have made a lifelong commitment to raising money and awareness for this cause. If you missed this year's Gala, you can view the videos on both the Quaranta family and the Gregg family right here on this blog.

The Caregiver award, which was given to the Quaranta's this year, honors someone who has served or serves as a caregiver to a loved one having diabetes or other auto-immune diseases and has set an example of loving care in our community. The Angel award, which the Gregg’s were recipients of this year, was created by the children and parents of the JDRF to show their sincere gratitude for the courageous efforts put forth by significant individuals who are helping to find a cure for diabetes. Thank you to both families for helping to make this year's Gala one of the most successful in JDRF LA's history!

We would also like to give a very special thank you to all of the volunteers that helped make the event such a success. With a showing of 665 guests in attendance on Gala night, volunteers helped ensure that everything from guest registration and check-in to the silent auction went off without a hitch. The night would not have run as smoothly without you! Thank you to the Beverly Hilton Hotel for the great food and to Billy Ray Cyrus for the awesome show! and every single item in our silent auction and live auction was sold!
We are proud to report that through all of our combined efforts both leading up to the event and on the night of, the JDRF LA Gala raised a total of $1.2 million dollars! Everything in our silent and live auctions sold (at 93% of value!!) and money is still coming in through Fund a Cure gifts. If you weren’t able to make it to this year’s event, you can still show your support by giving a Fund a Cure gift in any amount you wish. 100% of your gift goes directly towards research. Of the money raised this year, $257,350 was raised through Fund a Cure pledges on the night of the event only! Imagine the kind of progress we could make if we raised that kind of money every night and not just on Gala night!

To make a Fund A Cure gift please follow the link below:

Mitchell and Nina Quaranta Caregiver Award Video

Terry and Louise Gregg Angel Award Video

Vintage Hollywood 2010 Benefiting JDRF

An evening of fine wine and gourmet food

at the home of

Mr. Ray Leonard and Mrs. Bernadette Leonard
Boxing Champion, Sugar Ray Leonard


Saturday, June 12th, 2010
Tickets: $200 per person

24 Prestigious Vintners * 12 Incredible Restaurants * Live and Silent Auctions

Live Auction will be conducted by
Kevin Pollak

Jim Thornton
Afternoon drive host, KNX 1070 Newsradio

Attire: Casual Elegance Under the Stars
Valet Parking – Please bring picture ID

For sponsorship or tickets, please contact Beth Cole at (213) 233-9904 /

2010 JDRF Gala- Finding a Cure:A Love Story. Honoring Mitchell and Nina Quaranta, and Terry and Louise Gregg

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