Rama Natarajan, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research and director of the Division of Molecular Diabetes Research, has been designated the first National Office Products Industry Professor in Diabetes Research.
|Rama Natarajan’s scientific achievements garnered a new endowed diabetes research professorship from the National Office Products Industry group. (Photo by Darrin S. Joy)|
A $1 million pledge from the National Office Products Industry backs the new endowed professorship. Funding will come through personal giving from members of the volunteer group.
“This gift from the National Office Products Industry is both generous and forward-looking,” said Michael A. Friedman, M.D., president, chief executive officer and Irell & Manella Cancer Center Director’s Distinguished Chair. “Diabetes touches hundreds of millions of lives worldwide. By directing their support toward advancing diabetes research at City of Hope, these leaders are contributing to a healthier future for people around the globe.”
Natarajan’s investigations aim to shed light on the molecular mechanisms that lead to debilitating diabetes complications such as heart disease and kidney failure. Her team already has uncovered cellular pathways linked to such severe side effects, research that may lead to new therapies to alleviate or undo the damage of the disease.
Natarajan also collaborates with cancer researchers at City of Hope to study aspects of the body’s inflammatory response that seem to influence both diabetic complications and brain tumors.
“I am deeply grateful for this honor from the National Office Products Industry,” said Natarajan. “Their support will help us uncover the factors behind diabetes and other diseases and reveal new ways to treat these illnesses and the associated complications.”
Richard Jove, Ph.D., Morgan and Helen Chu Director’s Chair of Beckman Research Institute, noted Natarajan’s contributions to the field.
“Dr. Natarajan has established a record of scientific achievement that is recognized nationally and internationally. Among other notable achievements, she is a leader in studies of the epigenetics of diabetes-related complications. This professorship is both a well-deserved recognition of her work and exemplary of the impact of support from our industry partners,” he said.
The National Office Products Industry has raised $87 million for City of Hope research, treatment and education since its inception in 1983. The group’s support has helped finance the Center for Biomedicine & Genetics, City of Hope Helford Clinical Research Hospital and other facilities and programs.
Over the next three years, money raised through the group’s personal-giving clubs — Friends for Hope and Legions of Hope — will go to fulfilling the pledge for the diabetes professorship.
A new initiative, called “Hope Starts With Us,” encourages industry members to participate in the giving clubs. Matching gifts from Irwin Helford, formerly of Viking Office Products, and Jamie Fellowes, of Fellowes Inc., bolster the effort.
“We are proud to link our industry’s legacy with City of Hope’s diabetes research,” said National Office Products Council Chair Wayne Beacham, chair and chief executive officer of S.P. Richards Co. “We’re excited by the possibilities opened up by Dr. Natarajan’s work, so we want to help her make a difference for patients all over the world.”