Diabetes Research Institute Director Wins 2002 Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award

Miami, FL (June 17, 2002) — Dr. Camillo Ricordi, Scientific Director and Chief Academic Officer at the University of Miami School of Medicine’s Diabetes Research Institute, has been awarded the 2002 Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

The award, established in 1956, is given each year to recognize demonstrated research in the field of diabetes, taking into consideration originality and independence of thought.

The sought-after award is presented to an individual medical researcher under age 45 who has made an outstanding contribution to diabetes research. The winner is also asked to give the Lilly Lecture, a prestigious address to thousands of colleagues in attendance at the 62nd annual American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions.

Ricordi is the first surgeon in the history of the ADA to receive the award.

“Since the establishment of the Lilly Lecture, this is the first time that the award goes to the field of transplantation in diabetes, and more importantly, to islet cell transplantation. I am honored to accept the Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award on behalf of the many surgeons, physicians, and scientists who contributed to the field, and especially to those who didn’t give up during those long decades that preceded clinical success in islet transplantation,” says Ricordi.

Dr. Ricordi will officially receive the award on Monday, June 17, 2002, during the ADA’s Annual Meeting at the Scientific Sessions Awards Presentation. To culminate the Presentation, Ricordi will give the 2002 Eli Lilly Lecture, titled, “Islet Transplantation: A Brave New World.”

Dr. Ricordi is one of the primary innovators in the field of islet transplantation and a principal force behind the creation of one of the premier diabetes institutions worldwide, the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), where he serves as scientific director and chief academic officer. The Stacy Joy Goodman Professor of Surgery and Medicine and chief of the Division of Cellular Transplantation at the University of Miami, Florida, Dr. Ricordi is perhaps best known for his invention of the “Ricordi Method,” an automated procedure for isolating pancreatic islets that is in use in transplant centers worldwide.

Named for Dr. Ricordi’s groundbreaking research in this field, the “Ricordi Method,” enables surgeons to isolate then transplant these insulin-producing cells, instead of the entire organ, into patients with diabetes in a minimally invasive procedure which lasts less than half an hour. Islet cell transplantation is today an area of intense research and growing clinical success and optimism; the worldwide use of the Ricordi Method forms an integral part of that international research effort.

Dr. Ricordi’s work with islet transplantation also provided the first unequivocal evidence that clinical islet transplantation could induce long-term insulin independence in patients with diabetes mellitus. Current work from the DRI laboratories includes the development of novel methods for establishing transplant tolerance and other strategies for the prevention of immune system islet destruction. Ricordi is also well known for establishing DRI’s open-door policy research exchange and in creating programs for young, unfunded scientists from throughout the world.

Born in New York City and educated in Italy, Dr. Ricordi completed his medical degree and clinical training in surgery at the San Raffaele Institute, University of Milan. He does, however, maintain citizenship and medical licensures in both countries.

Dr. Ricordi’s career trajectory includes time working in the laboratory of Drs. Lacy and Scharp at Washington University in St. Louis; later on he joined Starzl’s Transplant Institute at the University of Pittsburgh (1989), to head the cell transplant program there. He was subsequently recruited by the University of Miami in 1993, where he now serves as DRI’s Scientific Director.

Dr. Ricordi is currently editor-in-chief of Graft and Cell Transplantation, and he was elected president of the Cell Transplant Society (1993-1995), and of the International Pancreas and Islet Transplant Association (1999-2001). He is also serving on the council of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (2000-2002), on the National Institutes of Health Expert Panel on clinical approaches for tolerance induction, and on the FDA Expert Panel on Biologic Modifiers. Dr. Ricordi also serves as the leader of the Immune Tolerance Network – Islet Subgroup and serves on the NIH/NCRR Islet Cell Resources Executive Committee, as Director.

Dr. Ricordi has received numerous honors and awards, including the recent 2001 Nessim Habif World Prize of Surgery from the University of Geneva, and the 2002 Carl-Gustav Groth lecture from the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. He has authored more than 400 publications and holds four U.S. patents.


Media Contact: 
Mitra Zehtab, MD, MBA 

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