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Basic Science Keynote Speaker

C. Ronald Kahn, MD


Mary K. Iacocca Professor, Harvard Medical School
Chief Academic Officer, Joslin Diabetes Center
Developmental Genes and miRNAs in Control of Body Fat

C. Ronald Kahn was born and educated in Louisville, KY. After training in internal medicine at Washington University, he moved to the National Institutes of Health as a Clinical Associate (fellow) in the Endocrinology Branch. Over the next 11 years, Kahn rose to become the Head of the Section on Cellular and Molecular Physiology of the Diabetes Branch in NIDDK. In 1981, Kahn moved to Boston to become Research Director of the Joslin Diabetes Center and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. In 1984, he became Professor of Medicine at Harvard and in 1986 was awarded the Mary K. Iacocca Professorship. From 2000 to 2007, Kahn served as President and Director of the Joslin Diabetes Center and is currently its Chief Academic Officer. Under his leadership, Joslin research grew more than 20-fold, and clinical and educational activity tripled.

In addition to his research activity and leadership roles at Joslin, Kahn served as President of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, chaired multiple Keystone Symposia and the Hormone Action Gordon Conference, and served as member of the Medical Science Advisory Boards of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and American Diabetes Association. At the national level, he co-chaired the National Diabetes Advisory Board, was a member of the NIDDK Board of Scientific Counselors, and chaired of the Congressionally-mandated Diabetes Research Working Group (DRWG), which developed a diabetes research plan for the entire U.S.A. He also served as Chair of Class IV of the National Academy of Sciences (Medical Sciences) and has been on numerous editorial Boards, including a founding editor of Cell Metabolism. During this entire time and continuing to the present, Kahn’s laboratory remains at the cutting edge of diabetes research.

In recognition of his research accomplishments, Dr. Kahn has received many honors. He is the recipient of the highest scientific honors of the American Diabetes Association (Eli Lilly Award and Banting Medal for Distinguished Scientific Achievement), the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (David Rumbough Award), the Endocrine Society (Astwood Lecture and Conrad Koch Award for Distinguished Research); the International Diabetes Federation (Cristobal Diaz Award); the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (the Claude Bernard Medal); the British Society for Endocrinology (Dale Medal); Pediatric Endocrine Society (Lawson Wilkins Award); the Bristol Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Metabolic Research; the Rolf Luft Award of the Karolinska Institute; the Jacobaeus Prize, Novo Nordisk Foundation; as well as awards given broadly in the field of biomedical research including the Allyn B. Taylor International Prize in Medicine of Canada; the Steven C. Beering Award for Advancement of Biomedical Science from Indiana University; the Outstanding Young Investigator Award of American Federation for Clinical Research; and the Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence from the United Arab Emirates. Most recently, Dr. Kahn was named the first recipient of the Manpei Suzuki International Prize for Diabetes, a prize which recognizes a single individual as the leading researcher in the field of diabetes worldwide.

Kahn has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and is an Honorary Member of the British Society for Endocrinology. Kahn has been identified as one of the Most-Cited Scientists and “most highly influential scientists and scholars” by The Scientist magazine and ISI. He has given many prestigious honorary lectureships and has been awarded honorary degrees from the the Université de Paris Pierre et Marie Curie, the University of Geneva, Washington University in St. Louis, Beijing University, the University of Copenhagen, and the University of Louisville. In addition, Dr. Kahn has trained over 150 fellows and doctoral students, many of whom are now leading researchers and academicians at institutions throughout the world.