Tuesday, April 13, 2010

JDRF New England Chapter's 11th Annual Spring Research Briefing

The 11th Annual Spring Research Briefing was held on Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at the Sheraton Needham Hotel. The information we shared that night was an inspiration and surely proof that our quest for a cure is closer to reality than ever.

We heard from two excellent presenters: Dr. Karin Hehenberger, JDRF’s new Senior Vice President for Strategic Alliances, and Dr. Douglas A. Melton, Co-Director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Dr. Hehenberger introduced herself to the JDRF family in the New England area and shared her perspective of diabetes research currently and her vision of how JDRF can help expedite progress toward a cure through our strategic alliances. Dr. Melton updated the group on the advances being made in stem cell research along with progress in the area of islet regeneration and reprogramming.

Following you will find video and slides of the evening’s presentations, as well as video of the question and answer session with our presenters and closing remarks by Sean Doherty, JDRF New England Chapter – Bay State Branch Board Member and 2010 Hearts & Heroes Gala Honoree. A special thank you to Bentley University students Kevin Bell, Christina Gangi, Eileen Mullan, Taylor Murphy, and Julie Pomponi, and to their professor, Mark Frydenberg, for making this possible!

Karin Hehenberger, M.D., Ph.D., is the Senior Vice President, Strategic Alliances, for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, where she manages JDRF's scientific, financial and commercial partners.Most recently, Dr. Hehenberger served as Vice President, Metabolics Strategy and Business Development for Johnson & Johnson. In this capacity, Dr. Hehenberger developed the strategic framework for Johnson & Johnson's global metabolic disease efforts. Previously, Dr. Hehenberger was a consultant at McKinsey & Co., where she focused on projects related to diabetes. She has experience in the financial sector, both as a buy-side analyst covering healthcare equities, and as a partner at a global venture capital firm focusing on healthcare. Dr. Hehenberger worked for Eyetech Pharmaceuticals prior to and during its IPO, and on the approval and launch of its product for age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Dr. Hehenberger holds M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. She continued her research as a post-doctoral fellow at the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Hehenberger is on the Board of The Rolf Luft Foundation for Diabetes Research and The Core Sight Council associated with the Lighthouse foundation.

Douglas A. Melton, Ph.D. is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor in the Natural Sciences at Harvard University. He is also a co-director of Harvard's Stem Cell Institute. Research in Dr. Melton’s laboratory focuses on the developmental biology of the pancreas. Dr. Melton is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine and recent awards include the George Ledlie Prize from Harvard University, the Richard Lounsbery Award from the National Academy of Sciences, and the Eliot P. Joslin Medal. Dr. Melton earned a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Illinois and then went to Cambridge University in England as a Marshall Scholar. He earned a B.A. in history and philosophy of science at Cambridge and remained there to earn a Ph.D. in molecular biology at Trinity College and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology.

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