Dr. Dan Drucker, of the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, and the University of Toronto, is a diabetes treatment pioneer. Drucker’s early work explored the biosynthesis, secretion, and action of glucagon, and he later went on to delineate the novel mechanisms of action of glucagon-like peptides (GLP) 1 and 2. His work on GLP-1 and -2 agonists as well as DPP-4 inhibitors provides the foundation for the largest spectrum of drugs for both gut disorders and type 2 diabetes. Watch the full interview to learn about his early stumbles in the lab and his prediction that his next five to ten years in the lab will be very boring.
We shift our format this month to bring you three giants in medicine, Dr. Jesse Roth of the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, Dr. C. Ronald Kahn of the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Jeffrey Flier of Harvard Medical School, as part of the JCI’s salute to the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin. Roth, Kahn, and Flier all played instrumental roles in the discovery and description of the insulin receptor and in elucidating the critical role it plays in diabetes. Enjoy the full interview with their anecdotes and to get a glimpse of their extraordinary camaraderie.
Robert Lefkowitz, physician-scientist from Duke University and the 2012 Nobel laureate in chemistry for his studies of GPCRs has recently written a memoir called A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm, and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to ask Dr. Lefkowitz to reflect more extensively on a life well lived and a career full of phenomenal insights and ample laughter. Hear his reflections on competition in academia as well as the push and pull of a life as a physician-scientist.
Beginning in the mid-1980s, Dr. Griffin Rodgers, Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health, led studies demonstrating the effectiveness of the drug hydroxyurea, the first FDA-approved drug for sickle cell disease. Since then, Rodgers has worked on transplant strategies and therapies for sickle cell disease and other hemoglobinopathies while also taking on massive leadership and administrative roles at the NIH, culminating in his appointment to the directorship of the NIDDK in 2007. Watch to hear about how Malcolm Gladwell and Howard Hughes played a role in sickle cell anemia and why it’s fitting to study hematology at a diabetes- and kidney-focused institute.
C. Ronald (Ron) Kahn of the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School is a physician-scientist who illuminated much of what we appreciate about the insulin receptor and the means by which it signals. He previously served as president of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and is the scientist with the most publications in the JCI. See the full interview on the JCI website https://www.jci.org/videos/cgms to hear more about Dr. Kahn’s political aspirations beyond the presidency of ASCI and to hear who told him he’d never be a big deal in endocrinology.