Pioneering diabetes researcher Samuel Rahbar, M.D., Ph.D., will receive the Samuel Rahbar Outstanding Discovery Award from the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
Samuel Rahbar, left, is a pioneering diabetes researcher. (Photo by Walter Urie)
The one-time namesake award is one of the association’s National Scientific and Health Care Achievement Awards.
Rahbar, a distinguished professor in the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, will receive the honor June 11 during the ADA’s 72nd scientific sessions in Philadelphia.
“This award is well deserved,” said Arthur Riggs, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research. “Dr. Rahbar’s discovery of protein glycation was the pioneering discovery in what is now a large field. Moreover his discoveries led to the best way to measure how well blood glucose levels are controlled. His discoveries have had tremendous impact.”
In 1968, Rahbar found that a molecule called HbA1c forms when the sugar glucose reacts with hemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen in red blood cells. The discovery led to new areas of basic and translational research.
HbA1c also has become the gold standard for diagnosing diabetes, measuring the risk of certain complications of the disease and determining the effectiveness of new diabetes therapies.
Rahbar, 83, continues his diabetes research and currently is studying molecules that inhibit glycation, the reaction of glucose with other molecules in the body, including hemoglobin. Glycation causes many diabetes-related complications, including damage to the eyes, nerves, kidneys and other organs.
Rahbar came to City of Hope in 1979 following two decades as a researcher at the University of Tehran in Tehran, Iran. He received his medical degree and his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Tehran.