BOSTON – (June 2, 2016) – George L. King, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Joslin Diabetes Center and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, has been selected to receive the 2016 JDRF Mary Tyler Moore and S. Robert Levine Excellence in Clinical Research Award. Dr. King will be presented with the award at the JDRF One Conference in Washington, D.C on June 16.

This award recognizes outstanding clinical and translational type 1 diabetes research and is named in honor of JDRF’s chairman, Mary Tyler Moore, who has type 1 diabetes, and her husband, S. Robert Levine, M.D.

Under Dr. King’s leadership, more than three-fourths of Joslin’s researchers perform clinical and translational research. Notable research firsts include: 

1) The discovery that pancreatic beta cells, which produce insulin, have the ability to be regenerated from stem cells or ductal cells in the pancreas, indicating that one potential treatment for type 1 diabetes is to stimulate beta cells to regrow even after many years of living with diabetes

2) The importance of insulin to preserve the functions of many organs such as arteries, pancreas, heart and brain 

3) The discovery of VEGF and subsequent anti-VEGF therapy, which has saved millions of eyes from vision loss due to diabetic eye disease

“I am extremely honored to receive this award, as both Mary Tyler Moore and Dr. Levine have made tremendous contributions to the JDRF and diabetes community,” said Dr. King. “The award recognizes our research program that explores why people with type 1 diabetes develop complications and how we can treat those complications. We also lead the Medalist Study, which is focused on discovering the factors that are protecting individuals who have lived with insulin-dependent diabetes for 50 years or more from developing complications. Much of this study, and this award, are due to the influence of Dr. Elliott P. Joslin and the support that Joslin Diabetes Center and JDRF have provided my lab over the last 35 years.”

In addition to serving as Joslin’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. King is also the Head of the Section on Vascular Cell Biology at Joslin. Dr. King’s research focuses on unearthing the causes of diabetic complications by exploring insulin actions on blood vessels, discovering factors and new treatments for diabetic complications, and understanding the reasons for the high rate of diabetes in Asian Americans. He has published over 270 papers and multiple books, including his most recent book The Diabetes Reset, and holds several patents.

Dr. King has received numerous awards, including the Donald Silver Excellence in Research Award from the JDRF, the Cogan Award from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, as well as the Harold Amos Diversity Award from Harvard Medical School and the Chinese American Medical Society Scientific Award. In 2014 Dr. King was awarded the Champalimaud Award for Vision, which is the most prestigious award in the field of vison research. Recently, Dr. King was selected as the recipient of the American Diabetes Association’s 2015 Edwin Bierman Award for Outstanding Contributions in Diabetes Research.

In 2005, Dr. King received the 32nd Annual Person of the Year Award from the Chinese Hospital of San Francisco Board of Trustees and Medical Staff.  Dr. King was appointed a 3-year term by the Massachusetts Senate in 2007 as a Member of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Citizens of Asian Descent. In 2011, Dr. King was appointed as the co-chair for the national organization of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders Diabetes Coalition.

Dr. King received his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine.  After his residency at the University of Washington Affiliated Hospitals in Seattle, he completed training as both a Research and a Clinical Associate at the National Institutes of Health.  He came to Joslin and Harvard Medical School in 1981.

“Dr. King’s outstanding research efforts with type 1 diabetes complications and his leadership as our Chief Scientific Officer is certainly well-deserving of this award,” said Peter S. Amenta, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of Joslin Diabetes Center. “He continues to set the precedent for translational research within the diabetes community.”

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