“I am incredibly humbled to have been nominated by my colleagues for this award and honored to have been selected by the ADA,” said Evans-Molina. “Most importantly, I want to thank the current and past members of my lab. This award is really a recognition of their collective efforts, and I cannot wait to celebrate with them in San Diego.”
The ADA is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization committed to combatting the diabetes epidemic and helping people living with diabetes thrive. Their Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award recognizes research in diabetes that demonstrates particular independence of thought and originality. In her basic science work, Evans-Molina pioneered the idea that alterations in calcium signaling within the beta cell secretory pathway are linked with impairments in insulin secretion, processing, trafficking, as well as the activation of organelle-specific stress pathways, including endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi stress. In translational and clinical projects, she has leveraged activation of these beta cell stress pathways to develop biomarkers that help stratify type 1 diabetes risk. Evans-Molina is involved in several NIH-supported consortia focused on the study of diabetes including TrialNet, RADIANT and TIDAPC/DREAM Networks. TrialNet is the largest international network of type 1 diabetes researchers, and IU’s leadership in diabetes clinical research has resulted in a TrialNet clinical center based at Riley Hospital for Children.
As she reflects on the significance of her award, Evans-Molina feels grateful for the support provided by IU School of Medicine in starting and developing her career and for her colleagues and mentors at IU. One of those mentors is a fellow 2023 ADA award recipient—Raghavendra Mirmira, MD, PhD, has received the Albert Reynolds Award for his achievements in the training and mentorship of diabetes research scientists and in developing stronger research communities. Mirmira and Evans-Molina worked closely together at IU before he joined the University of Chicago.
“I’m especially excited to celebrate this milestone alongside Dr. Mirmira for his well-deserved mentorship award," said Evans-Molina. "I have been lucky to have a number of cherished collaborators and friends within the School of Medicine who have in so many ways contributed to my career and this award. IU is an incredible place to be a faculty member and an incredible place to do diabetes research. What I love the most about our Diabetes Center is that we work as a team; we support each other; and we celebrate each other’s success. Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of our funders, our philanthropic partners, and the institution. I also want to acknowledge the support of the National Institutes of Health, the Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development (BLRD) Veteran’s Affairs Research Program, the JDRF, and the Helmsley Charitable Trust who have provided support for my research since beginning my lab at IU in 2008. In addition, I have been grateful to partner with the Riley Children’s Foundation, the Ball Brothers Foundation, the George and Frances Ball Foundation, the Wiese family and the Luke Bracken Wiese Fund, and the Richardson family among other philanthropic organizations—all of whom have helped us grow the Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, allowing it to be a fertile environment for top-notch diabetes research.”
Evans-Molina holds many titles at IU including the Eli Lilly and Company Professor of Pediatric Diabetes, the director of the Indiana Diabetes Research Center, director of the Diabetes Research Program in the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research, associate director of the Medical Scientist Training Program, and co-director of the Diabetes and Obesity T32 Training Program. Her inspiring journey to becoming a leader in diabetes research was recently captured as part of IU School of Medicine’s Women in Leadership series.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Jackie supports the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research at IU School of Medicine. As communications generalist, Jackie helps spread the word about the Wells Center's commitment to improving the health of children in Indiana and beyond through basic and translational research. She has several years of experience in non-profit and academic marketing and communications.