In Memoriam: Gian Franco Bottazzo (1946-2017)

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Professor Gian Franco Bottazzo

Awards include:

The Alberto Trisotto International Prize (1978), the Oskar Minkowski Award of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (1982), the Mary Jane Kugel Award of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation - USA (1984), the RD Award Lawrence of the British Association for the Study of Diabetes (1985), the Diaz Cristobal International Award for the Diabetes Study (1985), the King Feisal International Medicine Award (1986), the Mack-Forster Prize Clinical Research of the European Society of Clinical Research (1987), David Rumbrough Scientific Award of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation - USA (1987), Francis DW Lukens Medal of the American Association for Diabetes Study, Philadelphia Section (1988), Harington-de Visscher Award from the European Association for Thyroid Study (1988), Gunnar Birke Medal of the Swedish Society of Internal Medicine (1989) and Medal at the Banting Memory of the American Association for the Study of Diabetes (1992).

It is with sadness that IPITA informs you that Gian Franco Bottazzo passed away after a short illness on September 15th in Venice, Italy.  He was 71 and is survived by his wife Lamya and his daughter Dana. Professor Bottazzo was a pioneer in type 1 diabetes research. Over the past several decades, Professor Bottazzo has carried out extensive research on autoimmune diseases, particularly diabetes. In a landmark paper published in 1974 Professor Bottazzo and his colleagues showed that type I diabetes was associated with the development of antibodies directed against the insulin-producing cells; then he went on to demonstrate their predictive value, paving the way to future studies on pathogenesis and natural history of the disease. This pioneering discovery has opened the way to a flood of investigations in the study of autoimmunity as a basic cause of failure, not only of the islet cells of the pancreas leading to type I diabetes mellitus, but also the loss of other endocrine-producing cells such as those in the thyroid and pituitary glands. Professor Bottazzo was a father figure of the diabetes research community. He was innovative, creative, controversial, and brought life and debate to scientific meetings. We have lost a leader and mentor for many diabetes researchers, and a part of our history.

Gian Franco Bottazzo was born in Venice on 1.8.1946. Graduated in Medicine and Surgery in 1971 (University of Padua), he specialized in 1974 in Clinical Allergology and Immunology (University of Florence) and Endocrinology (University of Padua) in 1979. From 1973 to 1991 he was Professor of Immunology at the Middlesex Hospital in London. In 1991 he took over the Department of Immunology at London Hospital Medical College in London, which he held until 1998, the year he was appointed as Scientific Director of the Pediatric Child Hospital Bambin Gesù of Rome, Italy.

To demonstrate its importance in the history of diabetes research, Professor Bottazzo has been awarded numerous awards including: The Alberto Trisotto International Prize (1978), the Oskar Minkowski Award of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (1982), the Mary Jane Kugel Award of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation - USA (1984), the RD Award Lawrence of the British Association for the Study of Diabetes (1985), the Diaz Cristobal International Award for the Diabetes Study (1985), the King Feisal International Medicine Award (1986), the Mack-Forster Prize Clinical Research of the European Society of Clinical Research (1987), David Rumbrough Scientific Award of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation - USA (1987), Francis DW Lukens Medal of the American Association for Diabetes Study, Philadelphia Section (1988), Harington-de Visscher Award from the European Association for Thyroid Study (1988), Gunnar Birke Medal of the Swedish Society of Internal Medicine (1989) and Medal at the Banting Memory of the American Association for the Study of Diabetes (1992).