Prize winner 2016
Professor Paul Franks
Lund University, Dept of Clinical Sciences Malmö
Genetic and molecular epidemiology
Paul Franks grew-up on the outskirts of London and studied biostatistics (2000) and genetic epidemiology at the University of Cambridge (2003). He undertook post-doctoral training at the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease in Phoenix, Arizona (2005), and was appointed as a lecturer at Umeå University in northern Sweden (2006). Since 2010, Paul has been a professor at Lund University Diabetes Center, where he is currently vice-coordinator and heads the Genetic & Molecular Epidemiology Unit. He is also an adjunct professor at Harvard University, the University of Oxford and Umeå University. Paul has a long-standing interest in the interplay of genetics and lifestyle in type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and leads a research program focused on precision medicine funded by the European Research Council, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (EU), and National Institutes of Health (USA), Novo Nordisk Foundation, and the major Swedish funding agencies. Work led by Paul and his team has been published in the highest impact journals, including Science, Nature and the New England Journal of Medicine. The ~300 peer-reviewed papers Paul has led or coauthored have been cited >10,000 times (H-index = 59). In recognition of his contributions to diabetes research, Paul has received the Rising Star Award from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (2010), the Distinguished Young Researchers Award in Medicine from the Swedish Research Council (2014), the Harry Keen Memorial Award from the International Diabetes Epidemiology Group (2015), and a Consolidator Award from the European Research Council (2016).
Professor Franks receives the “Leif C. Groop award for outstanding diabetes research” for his excellent and inspiring work aiming to resolve how environmental and genetic factors jointly conspire to cause Type 2 Diabetes. This work has been made possible by his relentless efforts to organize and lead clinical studies, not only benefitting his own work, and creating an ambitious and highly competent research group, with the skill sets to tackle these difficult questions. He also pushes boundaries and aims to understand gene-environment interactions on a molecular level, setting him apart from the mainstream of the epidemiology field. Professor Franks is an outstanding speaker and teacher, and a strong and determined leader, who will make a difference for all the people who suffer from diabetes.