BIDMC investigators receive award to study pathways responsible for obesity, type 2 diabetes

September 23, 2005

BOSTON -- A team of four researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have been awarded the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation Pinnacle Program Project Award for their investigations of the brain pathways that regulate body weight and glucose metabolism, and the role they play in the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The two-year grant totals $1.5 million.

Led by principal investigator Anthony Hollenberg, MD, the team also includes Christian Bjorbaek, PhD, Joel Elmquist, DVM, PhD, and Young-Bum Kim, PhD, all members of BIDMC's Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and faculty members of Harvard Medical School.

Jointly funded by the Smith Family Foundation and the American Diabetes Association, this premier award supports scientists who are conducting research - basic science, clinical or translational - on type 2 diabetes. The BIDMC research team is the second group of investigators to receive the Pinnacle Program Project Award since its establishment.

"We're extremely honored to have been selected to receive this award and are grateful to both the Smith Family Foundation and the ADA," said Hollenberg. "We have a superb team of investigators working to elucidate the hormones and brain pathways regulating body weight and glucose metabolism; this funding will enable us to move one step closer to the goal of advancing diabetes treatment and prevention."

Diabetes afflicts more than 18 million individuals in the United States, with more than 1 million new cases diagnosed each year. The chronic disease is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, and is also one of the leading causes of blindness, kidney failure and limb amputations.

"The Smith Foundation Pinnacle Award is unique in that it encourages several scientists, working in diverse disciplines, to collaborate and move forward toward a common goal," explains Richard Smith, co-chairman of the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation. "This is the second such grant funded by the Foundation through the American Diabetes Association, and we look forward to continuing our support of cutting-edge science that will contribute toward prevention, treatment and even a cure [for this devastating disease]."
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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and ranks third in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Care Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit www.bidmc.harvard.edu.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

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