Ann Arbor’s U-M Awards Dr. Stephen O’Rahilly Taubman Prize For Excellence in Medical Science

Stephen O'Rahilly
Stephen O’Rahilly // Photo courtesy of University of Cambridge

The University of Michigan’s Taubman Institute in Ann Arbor has named Dr. Stephen O’Rahilly, an endocrinologist at University of Cambridge, its recipient of the Taubman Prize for Excellence in Medical Science.

“Dr. O’Rahilly’s pioneering work has led to a unique understanding of the control of eating behaviors and how genetic differences between people leads to weight gain and the consequences of obesity, such as the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes,” says Dr. Kathleen Collins, who chaired the national selection panel of medical scientists and is a Taubman scholar. “His discoveries already have led to life-altering treatments for children with rare causes of severe obesity. Several novel medications to treat obesity also are showing promise in clinical trials.”

O’Rahilly’s research focuses on genetic causes of obesity and its negative effects on metabolic health. At Cambridge, he is a professor of clinical biochemistry and medicine and remains active in clinical practice. Before settling at Cambridge in 1991, he trained in London, Oxford, and Boston. He qualified in medicine from University College Dublin.

Among other responsibilities, he established and co-directs the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, which is a research center dedicated to collecting data and educating on obesity, diabetes and related diseases. He also serves as the scientific director of the National Institute of Health Research Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre.

At U-M’s annual Taubman Institute symposium on Oct. 22, he will deliver a keynote lecture and then answer questions. He will also receive the honor and $100,000.

“It is an enormous honor to have been selected as the 2019 Taubman Prize winner and to join the list of illustrious translational scientists who have previously received this unique award,” O’Rahilly says. “As someone who has spent his professional life at the interface between the clinic and the laboratory, I am delighted that the Taubman Prize specifically recognizes those who work to bring the fields of science and medicine closer together.”

O’Rahilly is the recipient of many international awards and, in 2013, was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the Queen’s Birthday Honors for his services to medical research.

The Taubman Prize was established in 2011 by the late A. Alfred Taubman, who created the Taubman Institute in 2007 to support the work of clinician scientists at U-M. He wanted the prize to recognize physician researchers’ work outside Ann Arbor and to bring the thought leaders in medical science to the campus for collaboration.

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