Skip to Main Content

Diabetes expert is appointed inaugural Cowgill Professor

Medicine@Yale, 2009 - Sept Oct

Gerald I. Shulman, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally known diabetes researcher, has been named the first George R. Cowgill Professor of Physiological Chemistry.

Shulman’s research is aimed at understanding the cellular mechanisms of insulin resistance, the role of the liver and muscle in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes, and the benefits of exercise in the management of the disease. His laboratory pioneered the use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy and other noninvasive technologies to study the complex molecular pathway that leads to insulin resistance in humans. His findings have led to the discovery of a novel mechanism involving alterations in intracellular fat metabolism as the major cause of insulin resistance in liver and muscle.

A professor of medicine and of cellular and molecular physiology, Shulman has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator since 1997.Shulman is the recipient of the 2008 Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award from the American Society for Clinical Investigation; the Bristol-Myers Squibb Freedom to Discover Award; the Novartis Award in Diabetes; the American Diabetes Association’s Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award and Distinguished Clinical Investigator Award; the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation’s Diabetes Care Research Award; the Naomi Berrie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Diabetes Research from Columbia University; and an Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Federation for Clinical Research.

He has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences.

The new professorship was established in 2008 with a gift from Robert L. McNeil Jr., former chairman of McNeil Laboratories. It is named in honor of renowned Yale School of Medicine researcher George R. Cowgill, Ph.D., an authority on the human requirements for vitamin B1 (now known as thiamin) and other aspects of human nutrition.