Irish-born scientist Prof Sir Stephen O’Rahilly wins major US honour

Obesity expert, originally from Finglas, is to receive award for his diabetes research

An Irish-born internationally renowned research scientist and expert in the area of the genetics of obesity is to receive the highest award of the American Diabetes Association.

Prof Sir Stephen O’Rahilly, who is originally from Finglas in Dublin and is a graduate of UCD, will receive the Banting Medal Recipient for Scientific June.

The medal recognizes significant, long-term contributions to the understanding, treatment or prevention of diabetes.

Prof O’Rahilly currently serves as professor of clinical biochemistry and medicine, and head of the department of clinical biochemistry, at the University of Cambridge.


He has completed pioneering work on the causes of obesity and Type 2 diabetes – including discovering the obesity gene affecting children

He is renowned for his contributions in identifying novel extreme human metabolic phenotypes; discovering and characterizing numerous genes important in metabolic function and dysfunction; and developing new diagnostic and therapeutic applications now established in clinical practice.

President of Medicine and Science at the American Diabetes Association Dr Louis Philipson thanked Prof O’Rahilly “for his paradigm-shifting contributions to our knowledge of diabetes and diabetes risk-states.”

“Dr O’Rahilly’s illustrious contributions include the discovery of novel genetic mutations associated with defects in insulin signalling. Dr O’Rahilly was also the first to identify and describe several mutations causing human obesity,”said Dr Philipson.

Beyond his research contributions, Prof O’Rahilly established a centrally funded national service providing diagnostic and therapeutic input to patients with severe insulin resistance in the UK.

He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2013 and has joint Irish and British citizenship.