Steiner symposium brings together leading diabetes experts

July 05, 2005

On Friday, July 15, 2005, 28 of the world's leading diabetes researchers will gather at the at the University of Chicago's Biological Sciences Learning Center, 924 E. 57th Street, to discuss their latest research and to celebrate the 75th birthday of Donald F. Steiner, M.D., the A.N. Pritzker Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Chicago.

Steiner, a 1956 graduate of the University of Chicago Medical School, is an international leader in insulin biology, insulin secretion, protein processing and diabetes who has revolutionized how scientists understand the production of hormones such as insulin. In 1965, Steiner discovered that the double-chain hormone insulin is made in the pancreas as proinsulin, a single chain that doubles back on itself. After proinsulin is secreted, enzymes trim away the segment connecting the two chains to produce insulin.

"Proinsulin was the first 'pro-hormone' to be discovered," said diabetes specialist Louis Philipson, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and one of the symposium organizers. "It has served as a model of how many other polypeptide hormones are cleaved to become active and to be properly secreted."

The discovery of proinsulin also enabled the pharmaceutical industry to increase the purity of insulin preparations extracted from animals, which has improved the management of diabetes and created a better life for millions of diabetic patients worldwide.

Steiner, working with colleagues at the University, discovered the first case of diabetes caused by abnormal insulin (which they labeled "insulin Chicago"). Later, he worked with a Japanese team to describe the first disorder caused by an abnormal insulin receptor.

The symposium has been funded through educational grants from Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, NovoNordisk, Lilly, Abbott, Merck and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The Donald F. Steiner Symposium:
Exploring Pancreatic Beta Cells,
Insulin Biology and Protein Processing


8:30 A.M. Welcome -- Keith Moffat, Ph.D. Deputy Provost for Research, Louis Block Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago, and Arthur H. Rubenstein, M.D., Dean of the School of Medicine and Executive Vice President, University of Pennsylvania for the Health System

9:00 - 10:30 Session 1: The Beta Cell I
Chairs: Kevin Docherty, Ph.D., University of Aberdeen, UK;
Kenneth Polonsky, M.D., Washington University in St. Louis
  • Beta cell signaling -- Susumu Seino M.D., D.M.Sci., Kobe University, Japan
  • Insulin exocytosis -- Shinya Nagamatsu, M.D., Kyorin University School of Medicine, Tokyo
  • Human insulin secretion -- Kenneth Polonsky, M.D., Washington University, St. Louis
  • Reflections on the beta cell -- Roger Unger, M.D., University of Texas Southwest Medical Center, Dallas, TX

    11:00 - 12:30 P.M. Session 2: The Beta Cell II
    Chairs: Mark Magnuson, M.D., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, Nashville;
    Sture Falkmer, Ph.D., Trondheim University, Trondheim, Norway
  • Signaling in the beta cell -- Christopher Rhodes, Ph.D., PNRI, Seattle, WA
  • Beta cell and pancreas ontogeny -- Helena Edlund, Ph.D., Umea University, Umea, Sweden
  • Beta cell metabolic coupling -- Claes Wollheim, M.D., University Medical Center, Geneva, Switzerland

    Lunch 12:30 - 1:30

    1:30 - 2:45 Session 3: Evolution of pancreatic hormones
    Chairs: Shu Jin Chan, Ph.D., University of Chicago;
    Thomas Kjeldsen, Ph.D., Technical University of Denmark
  • Islet cell differentiation -- Ole Madsen Ph.D., Hagedorn Research Institute, Novo Nordisk A/S, Copenhagen
  • Role of the insulin system in Drosophila -- Robert Garofalo, Ph.D., Pfizer Research Labs, Groton, CT
  • IAPP -- Per Westermark, M.D., Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

    3:00 - 4:30 Session 4: Insulin, IGFs and their receptors: Dedicated to the memory of Howard Tager
    Chairs: Jonathan Whittaker, M.D., Case Western Reserve, Cleveland;
    Ron Chance, Ph.D., Eli Lilly Research Laboratories
  • The active surfaces of the insulin molecule -- Guy G. Dodson, Ph.D., University of York, UK
  • Structure-function relationships of insulin and the IGFs -- Pierre De Meyts, M.D., Ph.D., Hagedorn Research Institute, Novo Nordisk A/S, Copenhagen
  • Mutant insulin structures -- Michael Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., Case Western Reserve, Cleveland
  • Insulin receptor signaling -- C. Ronald Kahn, M.D., Harvard Medical School

    4:45 - 6:00 Session 5: Biology of the beta cell in diabetes
    Chairs: Gordon Weir, M.D., Harvard Medical School;
    Kishio Nanjo, M.D., Wayakama Medical University, Wakayama, Japan
  • Immunotherapy in diabetes -- Kevan Herold, M.D., Columbia University, New York, NY
  • Diabetes genes and beta cell function -- Graeme Bell, Ph.D., University of Chicago
  • Islet transplantation -- Susan Bonner-Weir, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School

    6:30 Birthday Celebration Dinner (Quadrangle Club)
    Opening Remarks: Arthur Rubenstein and Organizers
    Keynote Scientific Presentation - Ake Lernmark, Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle, and University Hospital MAS, Malmö, Sweden
    Dinner and Remarks from Current and Former Colleagues of Dr. Steiner
    Closing Remarks - Co-Presenters

    Note: Media coverage of the conference is welcomed. For more information, contact John Easton, 773-702-6241 or
    or consult the conference web site

    University of Chicago Medical Center

    Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

    New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
    Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

    Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
    Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

    Making sense of diabetes
    Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

    Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
    Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

    Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
    Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

    Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
    Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
    Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

    Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
    Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

    Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
    In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

    People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
    Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

    Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
  • is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to