American Federation for Medical Research (AFMR) has awarded its highest honor for medical research, the Outstanding Investigator Award, to Meredith Hawkins, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the Global Diabetes Initiative at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.
The prestigious prize is given annually to one exceptional investigator aged 45 or younger for excellence in biomedical research.
Hawkins was selected for her diabetes research, which examines the liver's role in glucose regulation and production, and how elevated fatty acids contribute to insulin resistance and inflammation in humans with glucose intolerance or obesity. While insulin's role in regulating blood glucose has been widely studied, Hawkins' group did pioneering studies showing that, in susceptible individuals, the liver fails to sense an increase in blood glucose—findings that may lead to novel diabetes drugs. They also study malnutrition diabetes, a poorly understood form of the disease that particularly affects the developing world.
"I am honored and thankful to receive this award," said Hawkins. "As the rate of diabetes and its serious health complications continues to rise worldwide, support and validation from organizations like the AFMR are necessary to help investigators like me continue to identify and develop effective and practical treatments."
A previous recipient of AFMR's Junior Physician-Investigator Award, Hawkins will present an overview of her work at AFMR's Henry Christian Awards dinner on April 17, 2012. She will then accept the award at the Translational Science 2012 meeting on April 19, 2012 in Washington, D.C.