Posted May 24, 2007
Dr. Pere Santamaria. File photo.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the world’s largest charitable funder of type 1 diabetes research, announced last week that Dr. Pere Santamaria, PhD, a professor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine is a recipient of its second annual Scholar Awards. The award provides sustained support for individual scientists of extraordinary talent and creativity who pursue pioneering research toward finding a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications.
Dr. Santamaria was selected as one of six recipients of this prestigious award because of his groundbreaking ideas, unique research direction, willingness to take risks, and commitment to accelerating type 1 diabetes research. Each of the recipients will receive $250,000 USD annually for up to five years for their research efforts.
"The Scholar Award is designed to encourage and support innovative, high-risk and high-reward, paradigm-shifting, challenging research," said Richard Insel, executive vice president of research for the foundation. "To fulfill its mission and find a cure fast, JDRF depends on the creativity and excellence of individual scientists like Dr. Santamaria."Dr. Santamaria is the director of the Julia McFarlane Diabetes Research Centre at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine. He received the award for his proposal to explore a new technique for preventing diabetes by using a novel vaccine in which tiny particles of iron are coated with proteins from pancreatic beta cells and then injected into the body. Type 1 diabetes normally develops when some immune cells attack the body’s own beta cells because they are mistaken for foreign substances. The vaccine stimulates the production of "weak" immune cells that tolerate the beta cell proteins and protect against their destruction. If this vaccine approach is effective, it could slow onset of the disease or even prevent it.
About the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary
The U of C's Faculty of Medicine is a national leader in health research with an international reputation for excellence and innovation in health care research, education and delivery. Through its educational programs, the Faculty of Medicine trains the physicians and scientists who will lead the next generation of health practitioners. Through its clinical work, continuing medical education programs, and close relationship with the Calgary Health Region, the Faculty of Medicine moves new treatments and diagnostic techniques from the laboratory bench to the hospital bedside efficiently and effectively, improving patient care.
About the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
JDRF International is the world’s largest charitable funder of type 1 diabetes research, and was founded in 1970 by the parents of children with juvenile diabetes - a disease that strikes children suddenly, makes them insulin dependent for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications. Since inception, JDRF has provided more than $1 billion to diabetes research worldwide. Since its founding in 1974, about 80 percent of JDRF Canada's expenditures directly support research and education about research. JDRF's mission is constant: to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.