Press Release


Diabetes expert John Todd receives Helmholtz International Fellow Award

John Andrew Todd, Professor of Medical Genetics and Director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, is one of five scientists selected to receive the 2015 Helmholtz International Fellow Award. The award, which is endowed with 20,000 euros, includes an invitation to undertake flexible research stints at one or more Helmholtz centers. The Helmholtz Zentrum München (HMGU) had nominated the Belfast-born expert for his work on type 1 diabetes.

Prof. Dr. John Andrew Todd

Prof. Dr. John Andrew Todd, Source: Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre

In particular, Professor Todd’s achievements in research on the molecular, genetic and mechanistic basis of the disease were singled out for recognition by the jury. The work of the 57-year-old scientist has long been highly regarded at HMGU: “In recent years we have had the privilege of working with him and his team in Cambridge,” says Prof. Anette Ziegler, Director of the Institute of Diabetes Research (IDF). “His outstanding strength is his ability to bridge the gap between research and therapy.”

Professor Todd and Professor Ziegler are currently working together on the Helmsley Type 1 Diabetes Program, which was recently launched by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The aim of the program is to create an infrastructure for population-based clinical prevention studies in Germany and in the UK (University of Cambridge). Link to the press release

Professor Todd has already been honored with numerous prizes and is also a member of the highly respected Royal Society. He and his four colleagues fought off competition from 14 other candidates from a total of 15 countries. The main purpose of the award is to promote cross-border networking. “Collaborating with the best in the world gives fresh impetus to our research – not only within the Helmholtz community, but well beyond,” says Helmholtz President Jürgen Mlynek. “The award is an excellent tool for this.”

The other prizewinners are:

Prof. Gretchen Daily, Director of the Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University (USA), nominated by the  Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research – UFZ

Prof. David John Hinde, Director of the Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility, Australian National University Canberra (Australia), nominated by the Helmholtz Institute Mainz and the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research

Prof. Suk-Joong L. Kang, Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (South Korea), nominated by the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology

Prof. Jiangang Li, Co-Chair of the Chinese Fusion Advisory Committee and Head of the Design Team at the Chinese Fusion Engineering Test Reactor (China), nominated by the Jülich Research Center (FZJ)

A total of 48 fellows have received a Helmholtz International Fellow Award since it was first conferred in 2012. The prize is aimed not only at researchers but also at science managers outside Germany who have done outstanding work in subject areas relevant to Helmholtz. Candidates for the award must be nominated by a Helmholtz Center that is conducting research on similar topics. The award is financed through the Helmholtz President’s Initiative and Networking Fund; the award-winners are selected by the Helmholtz Executive Committee. The most important criterion for the award is the quality of the scientific achievement. Each year a total of ten awards can be made, and candidates can be proposed continuously. The next selection meeting will take place in December 2015.

Press Release of the Helmholtz Gemeinschaft