Albert Renold Prize 2012 of the EASD
29.08.2012 - Dr Decio L. Eizirik, Director at the University libre de Brussels (ULB), has been awarded the 2012 Albert Renold Prize of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).
The prize is the most important international award in the field of pancreatic islets, and recognises "an individual's outstanding contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the field of research in the islets of Langerhans". Professor Eizirik and his colleagues at the Laboratory of Experimental Medicine at ULB have been investigating the molecular pathways involved in immune-induced beta cell impairment and apoptosis in type 1 diabetes (T1D). His research led to fundamental concepts such as the dialogue between the immune system and beta cells that trigger and amplify islet inflammation (insulitis) and progressive beta cell death by apoptosis. By using functional genomics and bioinformatics tools he and his group have clarified the cytokine-regulated gene networks that define beta cell outcome, including the recent discoveries of the role of endoplasmic reticulum stress and alternative splicing in this process, and the identification of the mitochondrial pathways that ultimately trigger beta cellapoptosis.By proposing that the beta cell is an active player in processes leading to its survival or death in T1D, Dr Eizirik changed the prevailing view in the field and identified several potential targets for therapy aiming at protecting beta cells in early diabetes.