Diabetes pioneer to deliver 7th Presidential Distinguished Lecture Dec. 2

SAN ANTONIO (Nov. 25, 2008) — Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, invites the university community and the public to the Seventh Annual Presidential Distinguished Lecture, this year presented by C. Ronald Kahn, M.D., of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

The free lecture, a highlight of the academic year and offered to enrich the education of Health Science Center students, begins at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, in the auditorium on the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Campus, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive. A reception in the Parman Auditorium Foyer will immediately follow the lecture.

This event was rescheduled in October after an unforeseen event forced its postponement.

The annual series, sponsored by Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P., brings the nation’s preeminent scientists to the Health Science Center. Dr. Kahn has spent much of his career addressing the question of how insulin communicates within cells to perform its many functions. His laboratory has literally defined the molecular mechanisms of altered insulin signaling in disease. Insulin is the key hormone controlling blood sugar in the body.

His lecture topic is “Tracking the Metabolic Syndrome to its Molecular Origins.” Metabolic syndrome is characterized by the presence of various metabolic changes that increase individuals’ risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. These include obesity, hyperlipidemia (the presence of excess fat or lipids in the blood), high blood pressure and insulin resistance (the inability of the body to use glucose at normal insulin concentrations). Insulin’s effect on fat-cell biology is another study topic in Dr. Kahn’s laboratory.

Dr. Kahn is an internationally recognized researcher, a senior investigator and head of the Joslin Section on Obesity and Hormone Action, the Mary K. Iacocca Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and vice chairman of the Joslin Board of Trustees. He was Joslin’s president and director from 2000 to 2007.

Dr. Kahn has received the highest scientific awards of the American Diabetes Association, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, and many other societies. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. He chaired the congressionally established Diabetes Research Working Group and holds honorary doctorates from several universities.

Each year the Ambassador Scholars, a group of outstanding student representatives from each of the Health Science Center’s five professional schools, present the lecturer with a medal. The lecturer, in turn, leaves behind a signed inspirational letter for future students. The goal is to inspire future physicians, nurses, dentists, scientists and other health professionals whose body of work over the next 30 years may qualify them to be the Presidential Distinguished Lecturers of tomorrow.

The Presidential Distinguished Lecture Series began in 2002. The outstanding researchers who have presented the lecture are as follows:

• 2002 – M. Judah Folkman, M.D., Harvard Medical School, pioneer in angiogenesis
• 2003 – Thomas E. Starzl, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, pioneer in transplantation
• 2004 – Robert S. Langer, Sc.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, pioneer in biomedical engineering
• 2005 – Denton A. Cooley, M.D., Texas Heart Institute, pioneer in cardiovascular surgery
• 2006 – Angela H. Brody, Ph.D., University of Maryland, pioneer in treatment of breast cancer
• 2007 – Louis J. Ignarro, Ph.D., UCLA, pioneer in nitric oxide research, Nobel Laureate


The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $668 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $15.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 23,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and other health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit www.uthscsa.edu.

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