Dr. David Hill receives Frederick G. Banting Award

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dr. David Hill, Scientific Director of the lawson health research Institute has been honoured with the 2009 Federick G. Banting Award. The national award recognized Dr. Hill for his significant contributions to preventing diabetes in Canada, and was presented to him at a special awards ceremony during The Canadian Diabetes Association's Annual General Meetings held last week in Montreal.

"It is a great honour to receive the Banting Award from an organization that has steered my scientific career, and allowed me to function as an advocate for Canadians living with diabetes," said Dr. Hill, a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Physiology & Paediatrics, at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at The University of Western Ontario. "Sharing the vision of the Association with colleagues who manage their diabetes on a daily basis has had a profound effect on the way my own research has evolved. The working partnership between scientists, health professionals and volunteers is the strength of the Association, and the springboard to future success."

Currently, Dr. Hill is investigating the ability to manipulate stem cells to become beta cells. Beta cells, which reside in the pancreas, are critical to maintaining our health. In a person without diabetes, beta cells deliver stored and manufactured insulin in the right amount at the right time to keep blood sugars normal. In type 1 diabetes, beta cells eventually produce no insulin at all. In type 2 diabetes, the beta cell is working overtime, stressed because of insulin resistance in surrounding muscle and fat cells.

If Dr. Hill is successful at manipulating stem cells to become beta cells, he could increase the supply of tissue available for human islet transplantation in patients with type 1 diabetes, and also the possibility of inducing targeted regeneration of new beta cells within the pancreas removing the need for transplantation. Other projects Dr. Hill is involved with include determining why low birth weight is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes in adulthood, and the ways in which environmental factors, such as nutrition might trigger or protect against diabetes.

"On behalf of the Canadian Diabetes Association's National Awards Committee, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to Dr. David Hill, winner of the 2009 Frederick G. Banting Award," said Arlene Kuntz, Chair, National Awards Committee. "The tremendous contributions made to the Association by our dedicated volunteers are key to the success of the programs and services we provide to Canadians living with diabetes."

Dr. Hill has published over 200 scientific papers, and serves as the Integrated Vice President Research, London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph's Health Care, London.