NIDDK Director's Update Spring 2021

Director's Note

Dr. Rodgers receiving the COVID-19 vaccineNIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers receiving COVID-19 vaccination at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD. 

Science builds upon itself, each new generation expanding the discoveries of the great researchers who have come before, contributing with fresh eyes and new technologies. That’s one reason why supporting the next generation of researchers is a key component of our mission at NIDDK. By investing in training for emerging scientists, we support the next great discoveries, like a new prevention method, treatment, or cure for a disease.

Knowledge transfer and training is critically important to our research progress. In my own life, mentors have played a huge role in shaping my career, bringing to light opportunities that led me to NIH. Mentoring can help open doors to new groups of scientists, ensuring knowledge is replicated like DNA. In this issue, read about how NIDDK’s Dr. Frank Hamilton has applied mentoring on a wide scale.

The next generation of researchers don’t only influence future research. NIDDK fellows advance and sustain current research, working on the frontlines of bench and bedside. Learn more about how NIDDK fellows are finding innovative ways to enhance their training and mentorship in these unprecedented times.

Adaptation has been a watchword of the past year, as we find ways to advance our mission while we also support COVID-19 research and clinical care. The pandemic has renewed our focus on understanding why people with conditions and diseases in the NIDDK mission are more susceptible to severe complications from viral diseases like COVID-19, and why the burden of these diseases falls heavier on minority populations. This issue highlights our continuing and new efforts to strengthen health equity research and diversify the scientific workforce.

This issue also has health information about National Kidney Month, NIDDK-supported research highlights, and notes about new and retiring NIDDK staff.

I encourage you to take our readers’ survey, out with this issue, to help us enhance your experience and understand what you like to read in each NIDDK Director’s Update.

As we address our immediate coronavirus pandemic challenges, we remain committed to the NIDDK mission, focusing on today’s results and developing tomorrow’s research giants in our quest to alleviate the burden of some of our country’s most consequential chronic diseases.

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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