Juleen Zierath receives a prize for mapping how sugar enter cells – University of Copenhagen

Health > News > News 2016 > sugar enter cells

14 April 2016

Juleen Zierath receives a prize for mapping how sugar enter cells


Juleen Zierath is giving the 2016 Novo Nordisk Foundation Lecture on 21 April 2016 and will receive the accompanying prize of DKK 50,000 for her pioneering research on the molecular processes that form the basis of the development and treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Physical exercise both prevents and treats type 2 diabetes, because exercise increases the ability of skeletal muscles to respond to insulin and thereby enhances the muscles’ ability to convert glucose to energy. For many years, it was a mystery what exactly happens in the interaction between insulin, glucose and muscle cells of both healthy individuals and people with type 2 diabetes, who have impaired insulin sensitivity. Juleen Zierath has contributed enormously to solving this mystery with her interdisciplinary research in integrated physiology for 20 years.

Juleen Zierath is a Professor at Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen and at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. She is recognized internationally for her translational research: building bridges between basic laboratory research at the epigenetic and molecular level and clinical work.

Interaction Between Exercise, Cells and Epigenetics
Juleen Zierath’s notable results include a precise description of several signalling pathways through which glucose is transported into the cells of healthy people. She has also shown how these pathways are blocked in people with type 2 diabetes and how exercise training and weight loss lead to new pathways opening up, improving the uptake of glucose.

“I am extremely pleased to receive this prize. When you take into account those who have previously received it, I feel very honoured to be in their company,” says Juleen Zierath, who originally trained as a teacher and taught physiology and exercise training to teenagers in the United States.

“Juleen Zierath’s research accomplishments have been recognized both nationally and internationally. Her research group has been a leader in translational studies delineating the molecular mechanisms of type 2 diabetes. The group is also in the forefront of research into epigenetic modifications caused by such activity as exercise training. Ultimately, the research can contribute to developing new drugs that improve the insulin sensitivity of people with type 2 diabetes and improve their quality of life," says Chair of the Prize Committee, Mette Marie Rosenkilde.

Professor Juleen Zierath
Tel: 0046 8 2548 7580