Published: 07-10-2021 14:45 | Updated: 18-11-2021 12:04

Prestigious EASD Claude Bernard award goes to Juleen R. Zierath

Professor Juleen Zierath
Professor Juleen Zierath

The European Association for the Study of Diabetes Association honors Juleen Zierath for her outstanding contribution to diabetes research over many years.

Congratulations Juleen! Tell us about the award you have received?

I received the Claude Bernard Medal and Lecture from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. This medal and lectureship is the EASD's highest award in recognition of an individual's innovative leadership and lifetime achievements in diabetes research.

What does it mean for you and your research to get this award?

This is a huge honour for me and most importantly, my team. Our work is primarily focused on understanding the impact of exercise on the control of glucose and energy homeostasis in people with type 2 diabetes. We have revealed key steps along the insulin signalling pathway are impaired in skeletal muscle from Type 2 diabetic patients. Furthermore, we have delineated exercise-mediated signalling cascades controlling glucose metabolism and gene expression. This is clinically relevant, since people who exercise are protected against the development of insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. Our team has unravelled some of the molecular underpinnings for the benefits of exercise on glucose metabolism. This prize puts our work into broader focus in the research community and general public and brings out the message that exercise can act as a “medicine” to prevent and treat insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes.

What is next for you and your team?

The team has two main focus areas - first, we are working to understand how exercise and diets can be synchronized with our internal body clock to fine tune metabolism throughout the day and secondly we are working to understand the interaction between organs that play a key role in regulating the body’s blood sugar level – fat, liver and skeletal muscle – and how these tissue talk to each other to collectively control glucose and energy homeostasis.

Are you going to celebrate?

I was in Florida visiting my Family when the award was presented and I am only just back now. The plan is to celebrate with the group later in the month.

How is the award ceremony conducted?

The prize was celebrated at the virtual EASD Meeting on September 28, 2021. The President of EASD awarded the prize and I delivered a lecture entitled “Sending the Right Signals – How Exercise Keeps the Rhythm in Metabolism”.