Professor Gökhan Hotamışlıgil wins the 12th Vehbi Koç Award for health in 2013. Professor Hotamışlıgil, Chair of the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at Harvard University, discovered that the mechanism that leads to diabetes with profound effects on liver tissue is not a protein, but a fatty acid.
Among the candidates nominated by the Selection Committee headed by Professor Turgay Dalkara, Vehbi Koç Foundation's Board of Directors chose Professor Gökhan Hotamışlıgil for his services to humankind as a scientist. Professor Hotamışlıgil received his MD degree at Ankara University, School of Medicine in 1986, and Ph.D. degree at Harvard Medical School, later becoming an associate professor and then a full professor at Harvard School of Public Health. Professor Hotamışlıgil has made many seminal contributions in the fields of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. He became the first Turkish researcher to be awarded the Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award by the American Diabetes Foundation in 2007. Professor Hotamışlıgil's discoveries have formed the basis for many drug development programs. His globally influential work, including over 150 articles, referenced more than 25 000 times, and more than 10 patents, have made him a world renowned scientist. Professor Hotamışlıgil was presented with the 'Golden Turk' and 'Community Leader' awards by the Turkish-American community for his work with TASSA (Turkish American Scientists & Scholars Association) and the Boston Turkish Biology Group. In addition to his research in his lab, he also contributes to over 30 laboratory studies. Professor Gökhan Hotamışlıgil is currently a full member of Turkish Academy of Sciences and American Diabetes Association.
At the awards ceremony on February 25, 2013 attended by members of the Koç family and distinguished guests, a short film about Professor Hotamışlıgil's life was shown. Taking the stage after Mustafa V. Koç, Chairman of Koç Holding, Professor Hotamışlıgil said, "The fact that our work is appreciated on such an important platform is an invaluable source of happiness and motivation for us. It drives us to overcome all the toil, all the disappointments, and keep going."
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