November 6, 2009
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WORCESTER, Mass – Michael P. Czech, PhD, professor and chair of molecular medicine and professor of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), received the 2009 H.C. Jacobaeus Prize for his pioneering research into the underlying mechanisms of insulin resistance in type-2 diabetes. Awarded for outstanding research linked to diabetes, a disease which affects an estimated 24 million people in the United States, the prize was presented to Dr. Czech at a ceremony at Umea University, Sweden.

During his 35-year career, Czech has studied the mechanisms whereby inflammation and other processes impair insulin signaling on glucose transport and other cell functions associated with type-2 diabetes. Currently, Czech is exploring the use of small pieces of genetic material, known as RNA interference (RNAi), to suppress the genes in immune cells responsible for insulin resistance and inflammation associated with type-2 diabetes. The National Institutes of Health recently awarded Czech a five-year, $6 million Transformative Award to pursue oral delivery of RNAi in models involved with type-2 diabetes.

Czech joined UMMS in 1981 as chair of the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. In 2001, he was named the first chair of the Program of Molecular Medicine, a multi-departmental research endeavor made up of more than a dozen laboratory groups that include faculty affiliations with both basic science and clinical departments of the Medical School. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Diabetes Association’s Elliot P. Joslin Research Development Award, an NIH Research Career Development Award and the David Rumbough Scientific Award of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. In 2000, Czech was named recipient of the Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The highest scientific accolade given by the ADA, the Banting award honors individual, long-term achievement in the study of diabetes. In 2004, Czech won the Albert Renold Award, also presented by the ADA, for his outstanding achievements in the training of diabetes research scientists and the facilitation of diabetes research.

The H.C. Jacobæus Prize has been awarded since 1939 by the Novo Nordisk Foundation of Denmark, a commercial foundation established to support scientific and humanitarian purposes. Hans Christian Jacobaeus performed the first clinical laparoscopic surgery in Stockholm in 1910 and was a member of the Nobel committee from 1925 until his death in 1937.

About the University of Massachusetts Medical School
The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research. The Medical School attracts more than $200 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources. The mission of the University of Massachusetts Medical School is to advance the health and well-being of the people of the Commonwealth and the world through pioneering education, research, public service and health care delivery with its clinical partner, UMass Memorial Health Care.