NIDDK 70th Anniversary (1950-2020) | NIDDK – National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

Message from the Director

As NIDDK celebrates its 70th anniversary, we look back on decades of scientific advances and forward to what we will achieve in the decades to come. Discovery and innovation are at the core of our institute, the result of the dedication and talent of our staff and grantees. Our achievements together have led to better ways to prevent and treat conditions among the countrys greatest public health concerns, including diabetes, obesity, kidney diseases, and many others in our diverse mission. I invite you to read about some of these advances in the links below and to follow the development of our strategic plan, which will guide how NIDDK will maximize public investment in research and amplify efforts where needed the most.

This year weve faced remarkable challenges, as a global pandemic upended life as we know it. NIDDK staff, grantees, and trainees have risen to that charge at every step, joining the search for ways to combat COVID-19 or pioneering solutions to keep operations running smoothlydespite many uncertainties. With a strengthened spirit of community, we embark on the next 70 years with compassion and determination to preserve and advance public health.

- Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P.

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Over the past 70 years, NIDDK has made substantial scientific research advancements and our scientists have been honored with prestigious awards for their work to improve public health. Looking forward, we strive to discover better ways to help manage and treat diseases central to our missions. Learn more about NIDDK and its advances in the NIH almanac.

October 16, 1968 Dr. Nirenberg of the National Heart Institute shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with two other scientists. Dr. Nirenberg reported his celebrated partial cracking of the genetic code while an NIAMD scientist.

October 1972 Dr. Afinsen, chief of the Institutes Laboratory ofChemical Biology, shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with twoother American scientists for demonstrating one of the mostimportant simplifying concepts of molecular biology: that the threedimensionalconformation of a native protein is determined by thechemistry of its amino acid sequence. A significant part of theresearch cited by the award was performed while Anfinsen was withthe NIH.

November 1982 Dr. Neufeld, chief of the NIADDKs genetics andbiochemistry branch, received the Albert Lasker Clinical MedicalResearch Award. She was cited, along with Dr. Roscoe O. Brady ofthe then-named National Institute of Neurological andCommunicative Disorders and Stroke, for their contributions to theunderstanding and diagnosis of inherited diseases calledmucopolysaccharide storage disorders.

September 2010 Dr. Friedman, a NIDDK grantee and formergrantee Dr. Douglas Coleman won the Albert Lasker Basic MedicalResearch Award for discovering the hormone leptin, which plays akey role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure.

September 21, 2012 Dr. Starzl, a longtime NIDDK grantee, receivedthe Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, shared withanother scientist for his work developing liver transplantation, anintervention that has restored normal life to thousands of peoplewith end-stage liver disease.

September 2016 Dr. Semenza, a NIDDK grantee, shared the AlbertLasker Basic Medical Research Award with NIH grantee Dr. WilliamG. Kaelin Jr. and another scientist for their discovery of the pathwayby which cells from humans and most animals sense and adapt tochanges in oxygen availabilitya process essential for survival.

October 7, 2019 NIDDK grantee Dr. Semenza shared the Nobel Prizein Physiology or Medicine with NIH grantee Dr. William G. Kaelin Jr.and another scientist for their discoveries of how cells sense andadapt to oxygen availability.

Chronic liver disease can result from many causes, the two most common being viral hepatitisincluding hepatitis B, C, and Dand nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NIDDK-supported research has yielded important knowledge that has improved the lives of people with many forms of chronic liver disease.

Over the past several decades, NIDDK has supported research to improve our understanding of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) through development of new approaches to study IBD and genetics, gut microbiome research, and personalized treatments for patients with IBD.

An estimated 37 million American adults have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), and kidney diseases are the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. NIDDKs continued development and testing of new detection strategies, therapies, and community education helps support the health and quality of life of people with CKD.

Nutrition plays a fundamental role in sustaining health and preventing disease. The NIDDK supports an extensive and collaborative portfolio in nutrition research, including clinical studies of diet and nutrition, microbiomes, and precision approaches to dietary recommendations.

Obesity has risen to epidemic levels in the United States and it is a major public health challenge. NIDDK-supported research has improved our understanding of body weight regulation and yielded new treatment approaches for people with obesity.

NIDDK-funded research has made important strides in developing new treatments for diseases like Sickle Cell Disease and understanding anemia. Recently, research into how cells detect oxygen and react to low oxygen levels was selected as the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

NIDDK-supported research has led to critical knowledge in areas of intensive glucose control, preventing type 1 diabetes and improving longevity of people with the disease.

NIDDK research seeks to reduce the burden of this serious and all too common disease with findings shown to prevent, delay, and treat T2D in high-risk people or those living with the disease. NIDDK research also focuses its efforts in gestational diabetes studies and T2D in special populations.

The Healthy Moments celebration of NIDDKs 70th anniversary features five talks with NIHDirector, Dr. Francis Collins.

Episode 1: Creating Medical Devices to Improve Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

Episode 2: Using Genetics to Improve Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

Episode 3: Fighting Kidney Disease with Precision Medicine

Episode 4: Decoding the Burden of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Episode 5: Making Obesity Treatment More Personal

Healthy Moments is a weekly broadcast that provides listeners reliable, science-based,healthy lifestyle tips, actionable suggestions, and other important health informationfeaturing Dr. Griffin Rodgers, Director of NIDDK. View more Healthy Moments episodes.

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NIDDK 70th Anniversary (1950-2020) | NIDDK - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

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