Breaking: DRI Announces New Scientific Director

The Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami announced that Dr. Matthias von Herrath will become the Institute's scientific director. The January 20 announcement ends the DRI’s nearly two-year search for a new scientific director after its previous long-time and deeply respected leader, Dr. Camillo Ricordi, stepped aside to become Chairman Emeritus.



Founded in 1971, the Diabetes Research Institute seeks a biological cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D)—one in which a patient’s body regulates itself with its own, naturally-occurring insulin. Funded by the DRI Foundation (DRIF), the DRI is based at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, where it builds upon its decades-long history of conducting basic science, including islet cell transplantation and stem cell immune protection. Today, the DRI is one of the few leading major medical centers focused specifically on T1D.    
Dr. Ricordi served as the DRI’s scientific director from 1993 to February 2021. Over the years, Dr. Ricordi has led the world to significant developments in diabetes research. He is best known for his accomplishments with islet cell transplantations, and in particular his 1988 invention of the Ricordi Automated Method and the machine that isolates islet cells from a donor pancreas. In addition, Dr. Ricordi was the founding president of the Fondazione Cure Alliance ONLUS and of The Cure Alliance. He has authored over 1,000 publications and holds nearly 30 patents as an inventor.     

Over the years, the JDCA has been an enthusiastic supporter of Dr. Ricordi's unwavering commitment to finding a T1D cure. His leadership transformed the DRI into a T1D research powerhouse and he leaves big shoes to fill. On behalf of the T1D community, we wish him only the best in his future endeavors and hope that he continues to be a guiding influence on T1D cure research for many years ahead.



Dr. von Herrath brings 25 years of experience focused on T1D. He has served as a professor at the La Jolla Institute where he founded the Center for Type 1 Diabetes Research and has worked for Novo Nordisk as a Vice President where he helped build their Seattle T1D research center. Dr. von Herrath’s lab work specialized in translational research to tackle the autoimmune response found in T1D. Prior to his work at the La Jolla Institute, von Herrath received his medical degree from the University of Freiburg in Germany.    
Dr. von Herrath shared his enthusiasm for the new role and his optimistic outlook: “I look forward to advancing the institute’s mission of accelerating curing type 1 diabetes,” Dr. von Herrath said in a press release on the DRI’s website. “Recent studies point to promising new directions in diabetes research at the scientific and clinical levels. It has never been a more exciting time!”    

It is also important to note that the press information surrounding this appointment underscores and emphasizes that the DRI will continue to focus on T1D for the foreseeable future. This is good news for the T1D community. After two years without a leader, we look forward to a new era at the DRI and, hopefully, many rapid advances toward a functional cure for T1D. 


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