When he received the prestigious Lasker Award a few weeks ago, liver transplantation pioneer Dr. Thomas Starzl said that the honor was for work shared by many, including his courageous patients. He thanked the research and clinical staff he worked with, and he said “the team is what counts.”
Working with the extraordinary staff, researchers, and grantees of NIDDK, I am continually reminded of the truth of that statement.
In our intramural labs, this last year brought discoveries that were published in the top scientific journals and will echo through healthcare research and practice in the years to come. Extramurally, NIDDK grantees produced a wealth of healthcare discovery, including findings that intensive blood glucose control reduces kidney disease, that a newly identified muscle hormone may reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes, and that an intensive lifestyle intervention yielding weight loss and increased fitness can slow the decline of mobility in adults.
In 2012, we also encouraged the public’s interest in and understanding of science. We reached hundreds of children and their families at the USA Science and Engineering Festival. We talked to D.C. public school students about the dramatic effect just one person can have in improving public health. We also voiced this message through our participation in NIH’s recent Celebration of Science, an event that brought together more than a thousand diverse leaders to commit energy to future discoveries.
In this issue of the NIDDK Director’s Update, check out some of our community’s activities over the last few months. You’ll find more about Dr. Starzl’s work, as well as stories about a multicenter trial soon to begin recruitment, a new research funding opportunity to find ways to lengthen life for people on hemodialysis, reflections on a research career from a longtime intramural scientist, and many other snapshots from our team.
As this calendar year closes, we thank you for your interest in and contributions to NIDDK and its mission of bettering public health, both this year and in the years to come.
In good health,
Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P.
Director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
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