Dr Elisa De Franco

An emerging star in the field of diabetes studies at the University of Exeter has won the 2024 European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Minkowski Prize.

Dr Elisa De Franco is the latest recipient of the Minkowski Prize which was established in 1966 in honour of physician and physiologist Oskar Minkowski who discovered the role of the pancreas in glucose metabolism.

Elisa’s Minkowski Prize is in recognition of her contribution to the understanding of genetic causes of diabetes, particularly neonatal diabetes and mechanisms regulating development and survival of beta-cells which are integral in diabetes treatment.

The Minkowski Prize adds to Elisa’s string of awards, including a Future Leaders Fellowship from the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD) and the Novo Nordisk Foundation, HeIDi (Helmholtz Young Investigator in Diabetes) award and a Diabetes UK RD Lawrence Research fellowship among others.

Speaking on her Minkowski Prize, Dr De Franco said: “I’m delighted and honoured to be the recipient of the EASD Minkowski prize for 2024. This is a fantastic recognition of the international impact of the research into the genetic forms of diabetes undertaken by the University of Exeter and the NHS Exeter genomics laboratory.”

Professor Sallie Lamb, Faculty Head of Health and Life Sciences at Exeter, said: “We’re incredibly proud of Elisa. This award is thoroughly deserved and a testament to the excellent quality of research here at Exeter and Elisa’s continued contributions to the field of diabetes research globally.”

Professor Chantal Mathieu, President of the EASD and Chair of the Minkowski Prize Committee, said: “Dr Elisa De Franco is an excellent recipient for the 59th EASD Minkowski Prize. She is an emerging world leader in gene discovery in diabetes, who has made major advances in our knowledge of human pancreatic development and significantly improved our understanding of mechanisms leading to diabetes.”