Pioneering researcher receives Heart Association Lifetime Achievement Award

September 20, 2012

One of the first researchers to study the deadly link between cardiovascular disease and diabetes will receive an American Heart Association lifetime achievement award today at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The award presented to University of Missouri endocrinologist James Sowers, MD, recognizes his more than 30 years of accomplishments as a physician, scientist and educator.

The Irvine Page-Alva Bradley Lifetime Achievement Award in Hypertension from the association's Council for High Blood Pressure Research recognizes efforts that Sowers began as a student at MU. Today, scientists like him have helped explain why high blood pressure and other complications of diabetes often lead to cardiovascular disease, the nation's No. 1 killer.

"The fact that my colleagues recognize my research and education in hypertension is truly an honor for me," Sowers said. "It is also a tribute to the University of Missouri as I received my undergraduate, graduate and medical school training here."

A native of Waverly, Mo., Sowers studied physiology and biochemistry at MU before entering the university's medical school. He has since examined the cellular mechanisms of insulin action for more than three decades, focusing primarily on in vitro research and ex-vivo analysis of animal models. His research has also led him to examine vascular biology as it relates to metabolic disorders.

"My major research has always been in diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but I started some of that work at MU when I was in medical school," said Sowers, noting his research then focused on insulin resistance and propensity to diabetes in pigs. "The pig studies probably had the biggest impact on my career. I was utilizing pigs in research before it became fashionable. Now, pig research continues to play an ever-important role in how we study these diseases."

A 1971 graduate of MU's School of Medicine, Sowers returned to MU in 2003 as one of the nation's leading endocrinologists. He spent the early years of his career at the University of California, Los Angeles for six years where he was faculty and chief of the neuroendocrine labs for the San Fernando Valley program. He would move on to Wayne State University in Detroit, serving 15 years as the director of endocrinology, metabolism and hypertension. Beginning in 1999, he became chief of endocrinology, diabetes and hypertension at the State University of New York (SUNY) Health Science Center in Brooklyn.

Sowers is now MU's Thomas W. and Joan F. Burns Missouri Chair in Diabetology, as well as director of the Thomas W. and Joan F. Burns Center for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Research. He also directs the endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism division in the Department of Internal Medicine, where he serves as vice chair for research. He holds a joint appointment as a professor in the Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology, where he trained as a student under James O. Davis, MD, PhD, a National Academy of Sciences member who helped build MU's international reputation in cardiovascular research.

Physiology department chair Ronald Korthuis, PhD, said Sowers' training and experience allows him to combine the best qualities of a physician-scientist.

"Dr. Sowers is a 'triple threat' because he is a clinician who is also a superb researcher and educator," said Korthuis, MU's George L. and Melna A. Bolm Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Health. "He sees connections in research and clinical disease few of us can. He then takes those discoveries and is able to translate them from bench to bedside."

Sowers' studies have been supported by such organizations as the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Diabetes Association. He serves as associate editor for the journals Diabetes and Hypertension, and is editor-in-chief of CardioRenal Medicine, a journal he founded in 2011.

Sowers also has served as a member of many NIH study sections, VA research review panels and professional societies, including the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He has served on the data and safety monitoring committee for the NIH ACCORD study as well as several VA cooperative studies.

"Dr. Sowers is one of our most accomplished graduates and faculty members, and we are proud that he has received this award from the American Heart Association," said Robert Churchill, MD, Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson Dean of the MU School of Medicine. "Few physician-scientists have contributed so much to the field of cardiovascular disease and diabetes research."
-end-


University of Missouri School of Medicine

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
Brightsurf.com 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 Amazon.com.