Scientific highlights

2nd Helmholtz-Nature Medicine Diabetes Conference a great success – awards for excellent science presented

Neuherberg, Germany, September 25, 2014. The 2nd Annual Helmholtz-Nature Medicine Diabetes Conference, held at Rilano No. 6 Lenbach Palais in Munich September 21st to 23rd, 2014, seamlessly continued the success of last year's opening conference. Top international researchers and promising young scientists took advantage of the three-day conference for an intensive exchange of ideas concerning the latest scientific findings in the field of diabetes research. The Novo Nordisk HeIDi award was presented to honor outstanding young scientists. Jeffrey Friedman gave the Helmholtz Diabetes Lecture.

left to right: Matthias Tschöp (HMGU), Anette-Gabriele Ziegler (HMGU), Günther Wess (HMGU), Brian Finan (HMGU), Shingo Kajimura (University of California, San Francisco), Ulrich Stilz (Novo Nordisk), Randy Levinson (Nature Medicine). Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

The second conference in the series was initiated jointly by the Helmholtz Zentrum München and Nature Medicine and confirmed the format's success. Leading experts and up-and-coming young scientists presented and discussed the latest research approaches and results in an intimate setting with the objective of developing new strategies for fighting the diabetes pandemic. New to this year's conference was the round table session in which 25 selected young scientists discussed their research projects in small groups with leading scientists. Günther Wess, CEO of the Helmholtz Zentrum München, summed it up, "The conference series is an internationally unique, top conference in diabetes research. We are already looking forward to the third event next September."

This year, the Novo Nordisk Helmholtz Young Investigator Diabetes (HeIDi) Award for young scientists who have achieved outstanding results in diabetes research went to Brian Finan from the Helmholtz Zentrum München and Shingo Kajimura from the University of California, San Francisco. Finan is investigating medicinal therapy strategies for diabetes and obesity. A multi-hormone molecule that he has helped to develop combines the positive characteristics of a number of metabolic hormones and consequently reduces the blood sugar and body weight. Kajimura is addressing pharmacological approaches to adipose tissue in order to promote the development of brown and beige adipose tissues, which are responsible for generating energy through fat oxidation. "The prize honors young talents for their excellent research results. We want to encourage young scientists to continue their research and also to pursue the translational potential in order to build on their findings and develop new treatment strategies," explains Ulrich Stilz, Vice President of Novo Nordisk.

The Helmholtz Diabetes Lecture recognizes outstanding contributions made by a leading scientist, and this year the honor of presenting the lecture was given to Jeffrey Friedman of the Rockefeller University (USA). In his lecture, Friedman examined the history, the current state, and the challenges of research on leptin, a chemical messenger that plays a central role in controlling food intake.

Both the organizers and the participants were enthusiastic about the event: "The conference was a complete success. We have received a great deal of positive feedback on the excellent presentations and the event's format, which offers the ideal setting for an intensive scientific exchange," says Matthias Tschöp, Scientific Director of the Helmholtz Diabetes Center (HDC) at the Helmholtz Zentrum München.

Further Information

Please also visit the Helmholtz-Nature Medicine Diabetes Conference Website.

Helmholtz Zentrum München, as German Research Center for Environmental Health, pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of major widespread diseases such as diabetes mellitus and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The head office of the Center is located in Neuherberg in the north of Munich. Helmholtz Zentrum München has a staff of about 2,200 people and is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 34,000 staff members.

The German Center for Diabetes Research e.V. brings together experts in the field of diabetes research and combines basic research, epidemiology and clinical applications. The members of the association are the German Diabetes Center (DDZ) in Düsseldorf, the German Institute of Human Nutrition (DifE) in Potsdam-Rehbrücke, the Helmholtz Zentrum München – the German Research Center for Environmental Health, the Paul Langerhans Institutes of the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital in Dresden and the Eberhard Karl University of Tübingen as well as the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Research Association and the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers. The aim of the DZD is to find answers to unsolved questions in diabetes research by adopting a novel, integrative approach and to make a significant contribution towards improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes mellitus.

Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The company also has leading positions within haemophilia care, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 40,700 employees in 75 countries, and markets its products in more than 180 countries.