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Joseph R. Williamson, MD

Joseph R. Williamson, MD, has dedicated over half a century to his personal mission to better understand diabetes, prevent its complications and improve the quality of life for patients.

Williamson’s extensive body of research has contributed substantially to the scientific knowledge base regarding diabetes, metabolism and vascular pathophysiology.  He has defined the intracellular nutritional deficiency in diabetes that engenders a series of compensatory responses with the potential to damage key metabolic pathways. Further, his work has detailed how elevated blood sugars promote a series of enzymatic and non-enzymatic reactions that lead to the disease’s complications. His novel insights have provided the infrastructure for clinical trials and a roadmap for others to use to create innovative therapies.

For years, colleagues say Williamson has fostered the pursuit of excellence and collaborative achievement in the metabolic community at the School of Medicine. His precise and meticulous research style has set the highest standard for the expectation of all research.

Williamson has shared his findings in 154 original peer-reviewed publications in leading journals, including: Diabetes, Circulation, Journal of the American Medical Association, American Journal of Cardiology, American Journal of Pathology, American Journal of Physiology, Microvascular Research, Nature and others. His last article “Linking Diabetic Complications to Sorbitol Oxidation, Oxidative Stress and Metabolic Suppression” was published in 2012 in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolism.

He has had numerous speaking invitations around the world, countless awards, and 71 invited reviews. His editorial responsibilities have included associate editor of Diabetes, and member of the editorial board of Microvascular Research.

His honors include the Joslin Medal from the American Diabetes Association, the Moses Barron Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Diabetes Mellitus. He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha. He chaired the World Conference on Diabetes Research; was a Pfizer visiting professor at Boston University; and has received a great number of other national and international accolades.

Williamson served in the U.S. military in Korea before pursuing his medical career. He received his medical degree in 1958 and completed residency training in pathology in 1961, both at Washington University. He joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1962.

The Washington University Medical Center Alumni Association is pleased to present its Alumni Achievement Award to Dr. Williamson.

Published: 02/12/2015