UW News

May 21, 2009

Endocrinology expert to give Edwin G. Krebs Lecture, June 2

Per-Olof Berggren of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, is the speaker for the Department of Pharmacology’s 22nd annual Edwin G. Krebs Lecture in Molecular Pharmacology. Berggren will speak at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 2, in Room D-209 of the UW Health Sciences Center. His lecture is titled The Islet of Langerhans as an Integrative Signaling Unit.

Berggren is professor and head of Cell Biology & Experimental Endocrinology in the Department of Molecular Medicine & Surgery at the Karolinska Institute, as well as director of the Rolf Luft Research Center for Diabetes & Endocrinology. He is also the Mary Lou Held Visiting Professor of Diabetes Research at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Berggren earned his doctoral degree in medical cell biology from the University of Uppsala in 1982 and was appointed associate professor in medical cell biology there in 1985. After working as a researcher in clinical diabetology at the Swedish Medical Research Council from 1990 to 1996, he became professor of cell physiology at Lund University in 1997 and assumed his present position later that year.

Berggren is an international leader in studies of calcium signaling in the pancreatic beta cell and control of insulin secretion in normal physiology and in diabetes. His work has given important new insights into the role of voltage-gated calcium channels and their beta subunits in control of insulin secretion. He has also revealed a crucial role for inositol polyphosphates in control of insulin secretion. His most recent studies focus on the physiology of the pancreatic islet as a whole, revealing the complex interplay between beta cells and other cell types in the intact islet in control of secretion of insulin and other hormones. Berggren’s work exemplifies the importance of basic understanding of cell signaling processes in the complex physiological regulation of insulin secretion at the cellular level and in the intact pancreatic islet.

Berggren has served on the editorial boards of Diabetes, the American Journal of Physiology, and Cell Metabolism; on the Metabolism Study Section at the National Institutes of Health; and on the Nobel Committee of the Karolinska Institute. His work has been recognized by Erik K. Fernströms prize, the Mary Jane Kugel Award of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, the Roche Diagnostics/Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International Diabetes Care Award, the Novo Nordisk Foundation Award, the Hilda och Alfred Erikssons Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, the Karolina Prize of the Karolinska Sjukhuset, the Svenska Läkaresällskapets Jubileumspris, and by election to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.