Congratulations to the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center’s Utpal Pajvani, MD, PhD, the recipient of a Herbert Irving Scholar Award to support Assistant Professors at Columbia University with promising careers in clinical and translational research. In addition to running his own research laboratory (where he studies the role of the Notch pathway as a regulator of beta-cell and hepatocyte function in mouse models of type 1 and type 2 Diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) Dr. Pajvani has a clinical diabetes practice at the Berrie Center.
“It’s a really nice honor,” said Dr. Pajvani, “as it recognizes the research being done in our laboratory as not just ‘mouse science’ but actually science that could impact patients.”
According to Berrie Center Co-Director Rudy Leibel, MD, Dr. Pajvani is a prototypical physician scientist who embodies, “great clinical acumen with sophisticated scientific skills. He is one of a group of young investigators in the Diabetes Center who will provide leadership of the Center in years to come.”
Dr. Leibel pointed to Dr. Pajvani’s work on the role of the Notch receptor in the pathogenesis of NAFLD as “an outstanding example” of what the Irving Scholar Awards are all about. “NAFLD,” said Dr. Leibel, “is an important problem in obesity and Dr. Pajvani’s molecular insights may be ‘actionable’ with existing pharmacologic agents.”
The Irving Institute for clinical and translational research has a generous tradition of supporting young Columbia physicians and scientists with 3-year Scholar Awards going back to 1987. Berrie Center Co-Director, Robin Goland, MD, was an Irving Scholar from 1996 to 1999. Other Berrie Center-affiliated Irving Scholars include Drs. Michio Hirano, Wendy Chung and Laurel Mayer.