DRI Leaders Recognized as Top Experts Worldwide in Islet Transplantation and Type 1 Diabetes

Miami, FL — December 19, 2018 — Camillo Ricordi, M.D., director of the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, was recognized as the world’s leading expert in islet transplantation, and Jay Skyler, M.D., deputy director for clinical research and academic programs, was named second worldwide in type 1 diabetes overall by Expertscape, an organization that ranks individuals according to their demonstrated expertise in specific diseases, conditions, and treatments. Drs. Rodolfo Alejandro, Alberto Pugliese and Jay Sosenko were also named among the world’s top 50 experts in islet transplantation and type 1 diabetes, respectively.

Launched in 2003, Expertscape provides tools to quickly and easily identify pioneering scientists, top clinicians, and leading institutions in more than 26,000 medical specialties. The rankings are determined using an objective algorithm that scores peer-reviewed publications over the last ten years to identify the most knowledgeable individuals in their fields. As part of its continuing program to highlight expertise and excellence in healthcare, Expertscape recently released its rankings of the world’s top institutions and medical specialists in the research and treatment of type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Ricordi, who is the Stacy Joy Goodman Professor of Surgery, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, and professor of biomedical engineering, and microbiology and immunology, is well-known for inventing the machine that made it possible to isolate large numbers of islet cells (insulin-producing cells) from the human pancreas and for performing the first series of successful clinical islet transplants that reversed diabetes after implantation of donor purified islets into the liver of recipients with diabetes. The procedure is now used by laboratories performing clinical islet transplants worldwide. He has also developed highly innovative strategies with the objective to transplant cells and organs without the continuous requirement for anti-rejection drugs and for the reversal of autoimmune conditions. For more information on Dr. Ricordi, visit

Dr. Skyler, whose career in diabetes spans five decades, is also professor of medicine, pediatrics, and psychology. Dr. Skyler’s principal research focus is in modulating the type 1 diabetes disease process through immunoregulation. Since the 1980’s, he has conducted numerous clinical studies using a variety of immune interventions to interdict diabetes progression. His research has always been in clinical aspects of diabetes, particularly the conduct of randomized controlled clinical trials. The research has included improving the care of type 1 diabetes through meticulous glycemic control, psychosocial and behavioral support, and a particular focus on immune intervention. He also has long been interested in the complications of diabetes, and in the relationships between blood glucose, blood pressure, and complications. For his research, Dr. Skyler has had continuous research support from the National Institutes of Health from 1979 through 2015. For more information on Dr. Skyler, visit

Drs. Alejandro, Pugliese and Sosenko all have made significant contributions to the field of diabetes over their decades-long careers. Dr. Alejandro, director of islet transplantation and professor of medicine, discovered in 1987 a zinc-binding chemical, called dithizone, that serves as a quick method for islet identification. Dithizone staining, which gives islets their distinctive red color, has since been in worldwide use. Dr. Pugliese, The J. Enloe and Eugenia J. Dodson Chair in Diabetes Research and deputy director for immune tolerance, discovered insulin gene transcription in the thymus with implications for the development of immunological self-tolerance and risk of autoimmune responses to insulin and type 1 diabetes. Dr. Sosenko, professor of medicine, epidemiology and pediatrics, developed a metabolic measure to identify risk for and onset of type 1 diabetes.

About the Diabetes Research Institute
The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine leads the world in cure-focused research. As one of the largest and most comprehensive research centers dedicated to curing diabetes, the DRI is aggressively working to develop a biological cure by restoring natural insulin production and normalizing blood sugar levels without imposing other risks. Researchers have already shown that transplanted islet cells allow patients to live without the need for insulin therapy. Some study participants have maintained insulin independence for more than 10 years. The DRI is now building upon these promising outcomes through its BioHub strategy, a multidisciplinary, three-pronged approach for addressing the major challenges that stand in the way of a cure: eliminate the need for anti-rejection drugs, reset the immune system to block autoimmunity, and develop an unlimited supply of insulin-producing cells. For more information, please visit, call 800-321-3437, or Tweet @Diabetes_DRI.

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Lori Weintraub, APR

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