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M. Alan Permutt, MD

M. Alan Permutt, MD

M. Alan Permutt, MD, professor of medicine and of cell biology and physiology, is being honored as a worldclass diabetes researcher.

Although Permutt’s work is largely focused on bench research, colleagues say he has always been a clinician first, driven by the desire to improve the lives of people with diabetes, particularly children. Permutt, who long directed the university’s Diabetes Research and Training Center and is now its associate director, has brought great distinction to Washington University through his research in diabetes, providing important insight into beta cell biology and the genetics of diabetes syndromes. Colleagues credit Permutt with contributing to and amplifying the understanding of virtually every aspect of genetic mechanisms underlying diabetes; perhaps one of his greatest discoveries was the identification of the genetic cause of Wolfram’s syndrome, a rare form of diabetes.

His research has been funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and through two National Institutes of Health (NIH) MERIT awards. His research is focused on the control of insulin biosynthesis, and he identified some of the fundamental components of genetics as an underlying risk factor for diabetes. He has published in a number of high-impact journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Science and Nature

Permutt’s passion for science and medicine make him the perfect mentor; he has provided guidance and career development support for a number of PhD students, postdocs and junior faculty, most of whom have gone on to independent careers in academic medicine.

Permutt earned his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and his medical degree from Washington University. He completed postdoctoral training at Washington University, Yale University and the University of Washington in Seattle before returning to Washington University in 1970 to join the faculty of the Department of Medicine.

Published: 01/19/2012