Professor Dame Frances Ashcroft FRS FMedSci is the recipient of the 2022 Manpei Suzuki International Prize for Diabetes Research. The prize is presented annually by the Manpei Suzuki Diabetes Foundation in Tokyo, Japan to advance diabetes research that will contribute to the health and welfare of people around the world. Professor Ashcroft will be presented with a Certificate, $150,000 prize money and a Japanese ornamental work of art at an award ceremony in March.
The Selection Committee cited her pioneering and groundbreaking contributions over her career to disclosing mechanistic functions of the KATP channel in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and to identifying neonatal diabetes caused by KATP gene mutations, which transformed both our understanding of mechanisms of insulin secretion and the lives of patients with a severe form of diabetes.
Professor Ashcroft is a globally renowned physiologist whose research has significantly advanced our understanding of insulin secretion from pancreatic beta-cells in both health and disease. She discovered a key step in the process by which an increase in the blood sugar level after a meal leads to secretion of the hormone insulin. Her work on neonatal diabetes enabled children born with this rare genetic form of diabetes to switch from insulin injections to tablet therapy. Most recently, together with Dr Elizabeth Haythorne, her research revealed that high blood glucose reprograms the metabolism of pancreatic beta-cells in diabetes, and that glucose metabolites, rather than glucose itself, are key to the progression of type 2 diabetes.
Read more about the Manpei Suzuki International Prize for Diabetes Research.