BOSTON – (March 1, 2016) – Joslin Diabetes Center is thrilled to announce that Gordon Weir, M.D., Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation Chair and Co-Head of Section on Islet Cell and Regenerative Biology at Joslin Diabetes Center and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Susan Bonner-Weir, Ph.D., Senior Investigator in the Section on Islet Transplantation and Cell Biology at Joslin Diabetes Center and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, have been selected to receive Joslin’s 2016 Global Achievement Award.
The two scientists will receive the award at the 2016 High Hopes Gala on Saturday, November 19th at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.
“We are more than pleased to recognize both Gordon and Susan for the tremendous work they have done for Joslin and diabetes patients,” said Peter S. Amenta, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO at Joslin Diabetes Center. “Their work continues to push the boundaries of what we know scientifically about the function of the pancreas and beta cells. I am proud of their collaborative work and the benefits patients will see in the years to come.”
The Global Achievement Award recognizes individuals and organizations that have made a significant impact in the worldwide fight against diabetes. Past honorees have included such luminaries as:
• Auto executive Lee Iacocca (2002)
• Illinois Rep. Tim Johnson (2009)
• TJX President and CEO Carol Meyrowitz (2011)
• Diabetes stem cell researcher Dr. Douglas Melton (2015)
Dr. Weir and Dr. Bonner-Weir lead Joslin’s Beta Cell research team, which works hard at uncovering the mysteries behind beta cells and how they respond in diabetes.
Dr. Weir is Co-Head of Joslin's Section on Islet Cell and Regenerative Biology and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. When he first came to Joslin, Dr. Weir served as Joslin’s Medical Director for nine years. In his research, Dr. Weir tries to understand what happens to beta cells in type 1 diabetes by studying normally functioning beta cells. He also wants to improve beta cell transplantation by finding new sources of beta cells, perfecting existing transplant procedures, and figuring out how to protect the newly transplanted beta cells from autoimmune attack. To this last point, he is collaborating with Drs. Dan Anderson and Robert Langer at MIT to develop materials that can encapsulate beta cells. Such encapsulated cells should be protected from immune attacks and be able release insulin. He is the recipient of numerous honors and has served as editor for the prestigious journal Diabetes.
Dr. Bonner-Weir is a Senior Investigator in the Section on Islet Transplantation and Cell Biology at Joslin and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is considered to be one of the world’s leading experts in beta cell morphology. Her research work aims to elucidate the process by which the pancreas and its constituent islets grow and develop in order to find new sources of beta cells. She has found evidence suggesting the pancreatic ductal cells could become functional beta cells. She also served on the editorial boards of several influential journals and on grant review panels and has received numerous awards for both her research and her work mentoring younger generations of diabetes researchers.