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Prof. Paul Zimmet

International Awards

Grand Hamdan International Award - Diabetes Mellitus
Personal Details/Academic Background:
A native of Australia, 74-year-old Prof. Paul Zimmet is acknowledged as an international expert with a distinguished track record of research and recognition in the diabetes domain. Married with two children - who are also doctors- he holds several academic and consultative responsibilities in Australia and different parts of the world. He was honoured with a Member of Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of his services to medicine and education in the field of diabetes. He was made Officer of Order of Australia (AO) for services to medical research of national and international significance, particularly in the field of diabetes, as a leader of investigations into social, nutritional and lifestyle diseases, and to biotechnology development in Australia.
He is a FRACP FRCP from London and a Honoris Doctoris Causa Complutense from Spain. He is a co-editor of the major and widely used text on diabetes - International Textbook of Diabetes Mellitus and also the co-editor of the “The Epidemiology of Diabetes”. His research in Australian, Pacific and Indian Ocean populations has highlighted the rise of diabetes worldwide, providing new insights into the genetic and environmental determinants of Type 2 diabetes.
He led the team that carried out the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study (Aus-Diab), the first ever national diabetes and obesity study in Australia, in 2000. He played a founding role in the merger of the Baker Heart Research Institute and the International Diabetes Institute to establish one of the largest facilities for cardio metabolic research in the world.
Responsibilities and Assignments:
• Director Emeritus and Director of International Research, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute
• Professor (Hon) Monash University
• Professor (Adjunct) University of Pittsburgh (USA)
• Professor (Hon) Deakin University, Victoria
• Head, WHO Collaborating Centre for the Epidemiology of Diabetes Mellitus
• Chair of Diabetes at Monash University
• Consultant in Diabetes and Public Health to Nauru Government since 1975
• He has previously served as consultant to several countries including Fiji, China, Mauritius, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Japan and Western Samoa
Prof. Paul Zimmet is currently the Foundation Director of the International Diabetes Institute, a position he has held since 1985. He served on the Australian Government’s Strategic Taskforce on Diabetes from 1997-2002. His research in Pacific and Indian Ocean populations (Micronesians, Polynesians and Melanesians and migrant Asian Indians, Chinese and Creoles) has provided new insights into the genetic contribution of Type 2 diabetes and the role of obesity, exercise, nutrition and socio-cultural change. More recently, he led the team that carried out the first-ever national diabetes and obesity study in Australia (AusDiab).
Research and Recognition:
Between1991- 2002, Professor Zimmet was the 11th most cited author in diabetes research literature. Through the dissemination to a wide scientific audience, and the advocacy to governments and the public, Professor Zimmet’s advocacy has raised the awareness of diabetes to an unprecedented level. Professor Zimmet’s research has focused on the rapidity of the development of the global diabetes epidemic and the environmental and genetic components in the causation of Type 2 diabetes and obesity (diabesity).
Commencing in Nauru in 1975, and later in many other Pacific and Indian Ocean nations, his research provided the first evidence of what is now a global epidemic of type 2 diabetes. It is widely recognized that the data were a major influence on the 2006 unanimous United Nations General Assembly Resolution (Resolution 61/225) declaring diabetes as an international public health issue, only the second disease to receive that status after HIV/AIDS. For the first time, governments have acknowledged that a non-infectious disease poses as serious a threat to world health as infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Professor Zimmet has pointed out that diabetes is one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st Century, and one of the greatest epidemics in human history.
In 1984, Professor Zimmet pioneered the first project to provide global predictions for diabetes. Subsequently, he was asked by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), and later by World Health Organization (WHO), to provide regular updates. The latest figures have just been reported in the IDF’s Diabetes Atlas 4 predicting that the number of people with diabetes will escalate from 285 million to 438 million between 2010 and 2030 and the number of persons with IGT will grow from 344 to 472 million. As a result, by 2030, there will be almost one billion people globally with or at high risk of diabetes.
Professor Zimmet’s main contributions have been in warning the world of the size of the diabetes epidemic. He was one of the first to predict that India and China (world’s population) would become the epiCentre of the diabetes epidemic. Professor Zimmet has been the director of a WHO Collaborating Centre and has successfully held one of the largest and longest continually funded NIH Project Grant outside of the US. He was one of the key promoters of the concept of the metabolic syndrome, a risk factor for the future development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Professional Milestones:
He has published over 6500 scientific papers, chapters and reviews in peer-reviewed journals and books. He is co-editor of the widely used text on diabetes - International Textbook of Diabetes Mellitus and is also coeditor of The Epidemiology of Diabetes. He has been a member of numerous WHO, international and national committees addressing the issue of
chronic diseases and nutrition. These include the 1985 WHO Expert Committee on Diabetes and in 1994; he co-chaired the WHO Expert Committee on the Prevention of Diabetes. He was a member of the WHO Expert Committee on Obesity in 1996. In 1996, he co-chaired the WHO consultation on the new criteria and classification for diabetes, and in 2001, the
IDF Expert Consultation on IGT and in 2003, the IDF Expert Consultation on Type 2 diabetes.
Awards and Recognitions:
• Annie Cunning Lecture Royal Australasian College of Physicians
• Kelly West Medal American Diabetes Association (ADA)
• Eli Lilly Award IDF
• AM Cohen Award Lecture EASD
• Inaugural Peter Bennett Diabetes Epidemiology Award for outstanding contributions to research on the epidemiology of diabetes International Diabetes Epidemiology Group
• Harold Rifkin Award ADA
• Kellion Award Australian Diabetes Society
• UNESCO / Mehnert / German Diabetes Union Award EASD
• Banting Award Diabetes UK
• Charles Best Award & Oration Canada
• Global Novartis award for longstanding contributions in the field of Diabetes
• Kelly West Medal from the American Diabetes Association
• In 1997, at the 16th IDF Congress in Finland, he received the 1st Peter Bennett Diabetes Epidemiology Award for outstanding contributions to research on the epidemiology of diabetes
• In 2002, he received the Harold Rifkin Award of the American Diabetes Association for contributions to diabetes internationally 
• He was also conferred Honoris Causa Doctoris by the Complutense University, Madrid, the second largest university in the world.
• In 2003, he was the recipient of the Kellion Award Lecture, Australian Diabetes Society and the David Curnow Plenary Lecture, Australian Association of Clinical Biochemists.
• He was awarded the 2004 UN/UNESCO Mehnert Award of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes
In recognition of his outstanding contributions in pioneering work on the epidemiology of the type 2 Diabetes and the significant achievement in type 1 diabetes research which resulted in the development of the anti – GAD Assay, Prof.Paul Zimmet truly deserves the Grand Hamdan International Award for the 2009-2010 term.