JDRF Honors Prominent Diabetes Researcher with New Award
–Dr. Francis Lynn, of the University of British Columbia and the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children’s Hospital, is granted the first-ever Alan Permutt Career Development Award for his ongoing contributions to beta cell therapies —
New York, NY, June 28, 2012–JDRF announced today the creation of the Alan Permutt Career Development Award and the award’s first recipient. The new award was named in honor of the late M. Alan Permutt, MD, a longtime JDRF advocate and researcher, and is being presented to current JDRF Career Development Awardee Francis Lynn, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of British Columbia and scientist at the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children’s Hospital, for his work in the field of beta cell therapies for type 1 diabetes (T1D).
“This award is a way to honor Dr. Permutt’s scientific contributions to the genetic and physiological bases of diabetes, as well as his volunteer efforts on behalf of JDRF,” said Adrianne Wong, JDRF’s senior scientific program manager of beta cell therapies. “Given Dr. Permutt’s passionate support of young scientists, we are pleased to name one of our outstanding JDRF Career Development Awardees working in beta cell biology as the first recipient of this award.”
JDRF’s Career Development Awards are given to promising scientists to provide five years of support to help develop their careers and research independence. The new Alan Permutt Career Development Award is a way for JDRF to honor research specific to the field of beta cell therapies-an area to which Dr. Permutt provided important contributions through his JDRF-funded research.
Dr. Permutt died on June 10th from cancer, at the age of 72. He was a professor of medicine and of cell biology and physiology, and the former director of the Diabetes Research and Training Center at Washington University School of Medicine. JDRF supported Dr. Permutt’s research throughout the years, and in 1995 awarded him the organization’s David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence. In 1998, Dr. Permutt’s research team discovered the Wolfram syndrome (WFS-1) gene, which is abnormally expressed in Wolfram syndrome-a disease characterized by insulin-dependent diabetes and serious neurologic disorders. His research demonstrated that a protein encoded by the WFS-1 gene regulates responses to beta cell stress to maintain beta cell survival-research that has provided insights relevant to T1D.
Dr. Lynn’s JDRF Career Development Award supports his focus on the protein Sox4, which is thought to be involved in replication of beta cells and may play an important role in regulating beta cell mass. In T1D, the immune system destroys the beta cells of the pancreas, which produce the hormone insulin, needed to turn glucose into energy. Beta cell research-including investigation into beta cell destruction in T1D and into possible ways to regenerate, replace, and protect beta cells-is a major area of research focus for JDRF.
JDRF is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Driven by passionate, grassroots volunteers connected to children, adolescents, and adults with this disease, JDRF is now the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. The goal of JDRF research is to improve the lives of all people affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners who share this goal.
Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has awarded more than $1.7 billion to diabetes research. Past JDRF efforts have helped to significantly advance the care of people with this disease, and have expanded the critical scientific understanding of T1D. JDRF will not rest until T1D is fully conquered. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education.