Richard A. Insel, M.D., oversees the research strategy of JDRF, the world’s largest funder of type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Prior to joining JDRF in 2003, Dr. Insel was the founding director of the Center for Human Genetics and Molecular Pediatric Disease and professor of pediatrics and microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. During his 26-year affiliation with the university’s medical center, he served as the acting chair of pediatrics, director of the Strong Children’s Research Center, and chief of the division of pediatric immunology, allergy, and rheumatology. His research program at the university focused on immune responses to bacterial vaccines and B cell immunity. Dr. Insel was a co-founder and board member of Praxis Biologics, a biotechnology company that developed a vaccine that protects against
type b, the cause of bacterial meningitis. This vaccine was the first to be licensed in the United States in a decade. A second, a conjugate vaccine, was the first to be licensed for universal use with infants since the vaccine for measles and mumps. Today, the Hib vaccine is regarded as one of the medical success stories of the 20th century, responsible for reducing the incidence of bacterial meningitis in children by 98 percent in the United States. Dr. Insel currently serves on the board of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine and on the Steering Committee of Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, an international network of researchers who are exploring ways to prevent, delay, and reverse the progression of T1D, and served on the National Advisory Allergy and Infectious Diseases Council of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Insel completed his pediatric and immunology training at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.