The University of Michigan’s Taubman Institute have today announced that Professor Sir Stephen O’Rahilly will be the 2019 recipient of the Taubman Prize for Excellence in Medical Science. The prize, which is given every other year, will be awarded at the institute’s annual symposium on October 22 in Ann Arbor.
“Dr. O’Rahilly’s pioneering work has led to a unique understanding of the control of eating behaviors and how genetic differences between people leads to weight gain and the consequences of obesity, such as the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes,” said Taubman Scholar Kathleen Collins, MD, PhD, who led the national selection panel of eminent medical scientists. “His discoveries already have led to life-altering treatments for children with rare causes of severe obesity. Several novel medications to treat obesity also are showing promise in clinical trials.”
The Taubman Prize was established in 2011 by the late A. Alfred Taubman, who created the Taubman Institute in 2007 to support the work of clinician-scientists at the University of Michigan. Mr. Taubman’s aim was to recognize physician-researchers’ work outside Ann Arbor, and to bring the thought leaders in medical science to campus for collaboration with peers at the University.
Professor O’Rahilly qualified in medicine from University College Dublin and undertook post-graduate training in London, Oxford and Boston before setting up his laboratory in Cambridge in 1991. He has sought to better understand the molecular mechanisms leading to diabetes, obesity and related metabolic and endocrine disorders and remains active in clinical practice.
“It is an enormous honor to have been selected as the 2019 Taubman Prize winner and to join the list of illustrious translational scientists who have previously received this unique award,” O’Rahilly said. “As someone who has spent his professional life at the interface between the clinic and the laboratory, I am delighted that the Taubman Prize specifically recognises those who work to bring the fields of science and medicine closer together.”
O’Rahilly, professor of clinical biochemistry and medicine at Cambridge University, led the establishment of the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, which he now co-directs. He also is Scientific Director of the Cambridge NIHR Biomedical Research Centre. He is the recipient of many international awards and honors, and, in 2013, Professor O’Rahilly was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to medical research.
“Dr. O’Rahilly is the preeminent obesity researcher of our generation,” said Taubman Institute Director Charles F. Burant, MD, PhD. “He has accomplished paradigm-shifting research, and he is a tireless advocate for people with obesity. I am delighted that the selection committee has recognized his work with the Taubman Prize.”