UCSF Endocrinologist Wins 2008 Juvenile Diabetes Award

May 30, 2008
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Dr. Michael German, an endocrinologist at UCSF Medical Center and associate director and clinical director of the UCSF Diabetes Center, received the 2008 David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

The David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence was established in 1974 by actress Dina Merrill in honor of her late son David. It is the highest honor that JDRF awards, and is presented annually to researchers for outstanding achievement and commitment to diabetes research and for their service to JDRF.

Of the presentation, Merrill said she was "honored to join with you tonight in the presentation of the David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence, which was established in honor of my late, beloved son, David. He would have been very pleased to know that research towards a cure is progressing rapidly and improving the lives of so many. Keep up the good work."

German is the Justine K. Schreyer Endowed Chair in Diabetes Research, director of the Hillblom Islet Genesis Network and the UCSF Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center, and a principal investigator in the Hormone Research Institute.

German cares for patients at the UCSF Diabetes Clinic, teaches medical students and lectures in the UCSF Diabetes Center's patient self-management training courses while maintaining a research laboratory investigating diabetes at the most basic level. The focus of German's research is to understand the structure and development of the pancreatic beta cell, the cell in the pancreas that makes insulin.

Insulin, the hormone that controls energy metabolism and regulates blood glucose levels, is produced exclusively in the pancreatic beta cells. When the insulin supplied by the beta cells is inadequate for an individual’s metabolic requirements, blood glucose levels rise and diabetes mellitus ensues.

German is interested in the genes that control the development of the beta cells from stem cells. He is also interested in where these processes break down in diabetes, and in how to translate our knowledge of the beta cell into novel strategies for curing diabetes.

German's general strategy is to identify the genes that regulate the transition of stem cells to mature beta cells. These genes are then used as tools to understand the process of beta cell development by studying how they regulate development and how they themselves are regulated, both in the culture dish and in the intact organism.

German is the recipient of three other awards given by JDRF: the Scholar Award (2007), Living and Giving Award (2004) and Career Development Award (1991-1994).

About JDRF

JDRF was founded in 1970 by the parents of children with type 1 diabetes — a disease that strikes children, adolescents and adults suddenly, makes them insulin-dependent for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications. Since its inception, JDRF has provided more than $1.16 billion to diabetes research worldwide. More than 85 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education. JDRF’s mission is constant: to find a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications through the support of research.