Together with the IU School of Medicine Diabetes and Obesity Training Program, the Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases (CDMD) announced that fourth-year doctoral candidate Alissa Novak is the recipient of the Peter J. Roach Diabetes and Metabolism Award.
The award is named for the long-standing director of the training program, Distinguished Professor Peter J. Roach, PhD. Dr. Roach’s career at IU spans more than four decades of scholarship and training in biochemistry and molecular biology.
CDMD Director Carmella Evans-Molina, MD, PhD, said that naming the award for Roach is befitting of his contributions to the teaching and training missions at IU.
“Through training efforts in his lab, which has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1979, teaching in numerous medical and graduate school courses, leadership of the T32 training program, and service as a member of the CDMD Executive Committee, Dr. Roach has been an incredible advocate for students and trainees at IU,” said Evans-Molina, who is also the Eli Lilly and Company Professor of Pediatric Diabetes.
Novak is the inaugural recipient of the award. After completing a bachelor’s degree in biology from Wayne State University, she chose to pursue a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology at IU, where she conducts research under the mentorship of Amelia Linnemann, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics, at the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research.
“I chose to pursue my doctorate at IU because of the supportive and collaborative environment,” said Novak. “I have an excellent support system at IU. Everyone in Wells Center is very friendly and helpful.”
In the Linnemann Lab, Novak’s research focuses on the cellular mechanisms in the insulin-producing beta cell that contribute to the development of Type 1 diabetes. Specifically, she looks at the requirement of beta cell antioxidant response for protection against diabetes, using beta cell targeted antisense oligonucleotides and generating beta cell targeted nanoparticles for targeted delivery of antioxidant stimulating compounds.
“Alissa is an integral member of the lab and is an incredibly talented scientist,” said Linnemann. “She really has a bright future, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving as the inaugural recipient of this award.”
The Peter J. Roach Diabetes and Metabolism Award was established in 2021 and is jointly supported by the IU Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases and the Diabetes and Obesity Training Program. Both the CDMD and the Diabetes and Obesity Training Program are nationally recognized by the NIDDK.
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