Since its inception in 1946, the Society for Endocrinology has honoured individuals who have helped to significantly advance the field with an annual programme of Medals, Prizes and Awards. Of the seven medals awarded by the Society each year, the Dale Medal is the highest accolade. The Medal is awarded to a member of the scientific community in recognition of outstanding studies which have changed our understanding of endocrinology in a fundamental way. This year that accolade has been presented to DPAG's Professor Dame Frances Ashcroft FRS.
Professor Ashcroft's research focuses on the role of ion channels in the release of insulin from the pancreas in response to rising blood sugar levels. She identified the potassium channel that closes in response to glucose metabolism, ultimately leading to insulin secretion, and also examines how this process is impeded in type 2 diabetes and how drugs can treat this condition. Her studies have helped people with a rare inherited form of diabetes caused by ion channel mutations to switch from insulin to tablet therapy.
Professor Ashcroft's work has been recognised by numerous awards and prizes, including the L'Oréal/UNESCO for Women in Science Award (European Laureate) in 2012, the Croonian Lecture commissioned by the Royal Society in 2013, the Albert Renold Prize by the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in 2007, and the Jacobaeus Prize by the NovoNordisk Foundation in 2014. Last year, Professor Ashcroft was awarded the Jacob Henle Medal by Gottingen University.
Professor Ashcroft has also recently been given an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Macau on 26 September. Previously, she had been awarded Honorary Doctorates from the University of Lund and the University of Cambridge.
Professor Ashcroft will deliver the Dale Medal Award Lecture at the Society for Endocrinology's annual BES conference to be held online on Wednesday 18 November 2020.