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1994 Krebs Lecture

1994 Edwin G. Krebs Lectureship in Molecular Pharmacology

The Seventh Annual Edwin G. Krebs Lecture in Molecular Pharmacology
Sponsored by an endowment from Sterling Winthrop, Inc.
Early Intracellular Steps in Insulin Action and their Alterations in Diabetic States
C. Ronald Kahn, M.D.
Research Director, Joslin Diabetes Center; Mary K. Iacocca Professor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Wednesday, May 4, 1994
3:30 PM, Room T-739 HSC

Dr. Kahn is a pioneer in the study of the mechanism of insulin action. His early work made major contributions to understanding the interaction of insulin with its receptor in the plasma membrane of cells and showed that insulin resistance can result from both antibodies which prevent insulin binding and inherited deficits in post-receptor insulin response mechanisms. His laboratory was instrumental in the purification and characterization of the insulin receptor protein and first showed that the insulin receptor is a protein tyrosine kinase. The protein kinase activity of the insulin receptor is now thought to initiate all of the cellular actions of insulin. Subsequent work by Dr. Kahn and his colleagues identified the major substrate for phosphorylation by the insulin receptor, insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1). The phosphorylated form of this protein binds a wide range of cellular signaling molecules which mediate many of the cellular responses to insulin. Most recently, Dr. Kahn and his colleagues have identified a new member of the ras family of GTP-binding proteins which is over-expressed in patients with Type II diabetes and may be involved in the etiology of this disease. Dr. Kahn's work illustrates the power of combining molecular analysis of a cellular regulatory pathway with in-depth study of the disease processes which affect it.

Dr. Kahn received his B.A. and M.S. in Chemistry and his M.D. with highest honors from the University of Louisville. He completed his internship and residency at Barnes Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, and was a Clinical Associate with the Clinical Endocrinology Branch of the National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism and Digestive Diseases. He spent eight years as Senior Investigator and then Chief of the Section on Cellular and Molecular Physiology of the Diabetes Branch of NIAMDD. In 1981, he joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the Joslin Diabetes Center. Dr. Kahn has been executive editor and editorial board member of several journals including Endocrinology, the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism. He has served as Councilor and President of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and has received numerous distinguished lectureships and awards including the Eli Lilly and Ciba-Geigy Drew Awards, the Banting Medal for Distinguished Scientific Achievement of the American Diabetes Association, the Colworth Medal and the CIBA Medal and Prize of the British Biochemical Society.