Barbara B. Kahn, M.D., elected to Institute of Medicine

October 24, 2005

BOSTON - Barbara B. Kahn, M.D., chief of the division of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School has been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), it was announced today.

Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to honor professional achievement in the health sciences and to serve as a national resource for independent analysis and recommendations on issues related to medicine, biomedical sciences and health, the IOM this year celebrates its 35th anniversary.

"Election [to the IOM] recognizes those individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health," said IOM President Harvey V. Fineberg in announcing the newly elected members. "It is considered one of the highest honors in these fields."

Kahn joined BIDMC in 1986 and served as chief of the diabetes unit from 1990 to 2000 before assuming her current position. She received both BA and MD degrees from Stanford University and an MS in Health and Medical Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. After completing training in internal medicine at the University of California, Davis Medical Center, Kahn began her career in molecular research as a Fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

One of the country's leading diabetes investigators, Kahn's research has had a major impact on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying type 2 diabetes and the cellular and physiologic processes that render obesity a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Her lab has identified novel pathways by which specialized cells in the brain respond to nutrients and hormones and send out signals that regulate food intake and body weight. Most recently, the Kahn lab identified a novel protein secreted from fat cells that may be a new target for treatment or prevention of type 2 diabetes.

Kahn has published more than 145 scientific papers and has served on the editorial boards of leading journals including the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Cell Metabolism, The American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Diabetes. Her laboratory has trained numerous research fellows from more than 18 different countries. In addition to her scientific and administrative activities, she maintains a clinical practice at BIDMC.

"In her roles as clinician, scientist and educator, Barbara Kahn embodies the essence of academic medicine," said BIDMC Chief Academic Officer Jeffrey S. Flier, MD. "Not only have the patients of our institution benefited tremendously from her dedication and insights, but her continued research into the mechanisms underlying obesity and diabetes is helping patients everywhere. BIDMC is proud and honored by Dr. Kahn's election to the IOM."

Kahn has chaired national committees for the American Diabetes Association and served on its board of directors, and has served on both the diabetes and obesity committees of the American Heart Association. The recipient of numerous awards including the Eli Lilly Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement from the American Diabetes Association and the Mosenthal Award for Outstanding Research Achievement from the American Diabetes Association, Eastern Region, Kahn will receive the prestigious 2005 Jacobaeus Prize from the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Karolinska Institute in a ceremony at the Nobel Forum in Stockholm, Sweden in December.

Kahn currently serves as Director of the NIH-funded Metabolic Physiology Core for the Boston Area Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center. She is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.
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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and ranks fourth 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 Center. For more information, visit www.bidmc.harvard.edu.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

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