Renowned genetic epidemiologist Stephen Rich, PhD, director of the University of Virginia Center for Public Health Genomics, has been honored with one of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s (JDRF) most prestigious awards, the David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence. The award recognizes pioneering scientists who have made outstanding contributions to diabetes research.
A world leader in the fields of molecular epidemiology and genetics, Dr. Rich’s long-term interest in the genetic basis of type 1 diabetes has led to the identification of more than 40 regions in the human genome that contain genes affecting type 1 diabetes risk.
“The scientists who received these awards represent the best and the brightest, and are the embodiment of the hope and commitment each and everyone of us has that treatments will soon be a reality, and that a cure is inevitable,” says Dr. Richard Insel, executive vice president of research at JDRF. Awards were presented May 21, 2010 during JDRF’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Rich leads a team of UVA investigators who are working to translate findings from the Human Genome Project into usable science and treatments to benefit type 1 diabetics. His team is identifying potential genetic biomarkers that can be useful in assessing risk for developing the disease and its complications. Rich also heads the National Institutes of Health Type I Diabetes Genetics Consortium, an international effort to understand the genes that underlie diabetes and its complications.
Established almost 40 years ago by actress Dina Merrill in honor of her late son, David, the Rumbough Award is presented annually in recognition of outstanding achievement in diabetes research and service to JDRF.
In addition to Dr. Rich, recipients of the 2009 David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence are: Dr. Gerald Nepom, director of the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason and the JDRF-BRI Center for Translational Research in Seattle, Wash.; and Dr. Anne Marie Schmidt, chief of the Division of Surgical Science and the Gerald and Janet Carrus Professor of Surgical Science at Columbia University.