NIDDK Director's Update Spring 2024

Director's Note

At the heart of our research are the people affected by the diseases and conditions within the NIDDK mission. Our unwavering commitment energizes us and drives us forward. Whether it’s striving to uncover a cure for debilitating diseases, devising more effective prevention strategies, or pioneering innovative treatments, our dedication remains focused on the people we serve.

Central to our research strategy is the principle of community and patient engagement, described in the NIDDK Pathways to Health for All report and Strategic Plan for Research, to embed equity into research and ultimately, improve patient care across the continuum.

An example of this patient-centric approach in action is the NIDDK-supported Kidney Precision Medicine Project (KPMP), where the indispensable contributions of “patient partners” play a transformative role in how the studies are developed and implemented. In this issue, you can read more about KPMP’s patient partners and how their selfless motivation is helping others affected by kidney disease, as well as how the research community can use this model to pioneer innovative, tailored treatments in the future.

Cultivating empathy and engagement with people navigating diseases helps inform the design and execution of our studies and strengthens the bonds of trust and collaboration between researchers, patients, and communities.

Even at the earliest stages, when research ideas begin to take form, NIDDK workshops serve as platforms for inclusive dialogue and collaboration with patients, their families, and community members. This issue highlights the workshops NIDDK held to explore anti-obesity medications, where patients offered valuable insights into their lived experience with obesity and treatment and informed priorities for future research.

And often as researchers, our personal experience with a disease or condition motivates us to pursue a particular field of study. This issue’s Fellow Spotlight features Dr. Yu Ishimoto, who talks about his research on a genetic form of polycystic kidney disease that runs in his family.

In addition to these stories, we share research updates on advances on a rare neurological disease called GM1 gangliosidosis, how diets affect immunity, models of human fat cells, and more. We also Get to Know Dr. Teresa Jones and welcome and share congratulations to NIDDK staff in our Commendations & Commencements section.

Our personal interconnectedness helps shape our paths and form the foundation for our pursuit of knowledge and medical discovery. Together, we can be persistent and empowered to pursue breakthroughs that offer hope and tangible health improvements for all.

In good health,

Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P.
Director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Follow @NIDDKgov on social media

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