Important Diabetes Research Prize Goes to DZD Scientist in Leipzig

For his research on the role of adipose tissue in the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes Professor Matthias Blüher has been awarded this year’s Minkowski Prize of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). It is considered the most important European diabetes research award for young scientists and is endowed with 20,000 euros. Since 1966 only five German scientists have received this award. Blüher is a scientist at the Leipzig University Medical School and at the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD).

The endocrinologist Matthias Blüher and his team bridge the gap between basic research and the transfer of study results to humans. During a research stay at the Joslin Diabetes Center of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Blüher showed that the declining effect of insulin (insulin resistance) in adipose tissue in mice can contribute to a protection against weight gain and even to a longer life expectancy. In Leipzig Blüher established one of the world’s largest human adipose tissue databases. It is the basis for important research results on adipose tissue hormones such as vaspin, progranulin or chemerin and their influence on metabolism. Based on extensive samples, the researchers found that adipose tissue dysfunction is associated with insulin resistance and metabolic diseases.

So far only 5 German prizewinners
The 44-year-old Blüher is speaker of the Collaborative Research Center "Mechanisms of Obesity" (SFB 1052), a large-scale project funded by the German Research Foundation at the Medical School of the University of Leipzig. He also leads clinical studies at the Integrated Research and Treatment Center (IFB) AdiposityDiseases, is future president of the German Obesity Society and is on the scientific advisory board of various scientific journals (including Diabetologia, the International Journal of Obesity, Molecular Metabolism and Obesity Facts). In 2008 Blüher received the prestigious Ferdinand Bertram Prize for his outstanding research from the German Diabetes Society. In addition to his research activities, he treats patients with obesity and metabolic diseases at Leipzig University Hospital and at the interdisciplinary IFB outpatient clinic. Blüher, a native of Leipzig, is only the fifth German to receive the Minkowski Prize. Among the prizewinners is Professor Michael Stumvoll, who today – likewise in Leipzig – is scientific director of the IFB and board member of the SFB.

The Minkowski Prize will be awarded at the 51st Annual Meeting of the EASD in Stockholm (Sweden) on September 17, 2015. It is named after the German internist Oskar Minkowski, who in 1889 was able to show the role of the pancreas in the pathogenesis of diabetes. The prize was awarded for the first time in 1966 and goes each year to a young scientist whose research significantly promotes the understanding of the causes of diabetes.