Press release

American Diabetes Association® Awards $3.25 Million for Innovative Diabetes Research

February 4, 2020 | Arlington, Virginia

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is awarding this year’s prestigious Pathway to Stop Diabetes grants, totaling $3.25 million dollars, to two promising researchers. Both will receive $1.625 million dollars over a five-year grant term to support breakthroughs in basic science, clinical science, technology, care and potential cures in the field of diabetes. 

  • Judith Agudo, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, receives a Pathway Accelerator Award for her research project titled “Harnessing immune privilege mechanisms from stem cells to protect beta-cells from immune attack.”
  • Maxence V. Nachury, PhD, University of California, San Francisco, receives a Pathway Visionary Award for his research project titled “Regulation of body weight homeostasis and beta cell function by primary cilia.”

“Congratulations to our 2020 Pathway to Stop Diabetes research grant awardees, Dr. Agudo and Dr. Nachury,” said Dr. Kenneth Moritsugu, Interim Chief Science and Medicine Officer for the American Diabetes Association. “The Pathway program is groundbreaking and identifies promising researchers at the peak of their creativity. It provides them with the financial and professional support they need to be innovative and produce something great. Alongside the 32 other Pathway researchers we’ve supported since the program began in 2014, I have no doubt that the work or Dr. Agudo and Dr. Nachury will help those living with diabetes truly thrive and bring us closer than ever to finding a cure for diabetes.”

“Research is in our DNA and it is our foundation,” added Tracey D. Brown, CEO of the American Diabetes Association. “The Pathway program allows us to continue our mission through the great minds of young and talented researchers who will one day find a cure and end this diabetes epidemic!”

Learn more about Pathway to Stop Diabetes and the research of Drs. Agudo and Nachury at

About Pathway to Stop Diabetes
Now in its seventh year, the Pathway program is a revolutionary grant designed to transform diabetes research by attracting brilliant scientists through financial support and professional mentorship and guidance. Since the Pathway program began, 34 scientists have been selected, putting us well on the path to our goal of bringing 100 brilliant scientists to diabetes research. Since Pathway launched, nine awardees have secured their first independent faculty positions, thirteen invention disclosures and patent applications have been filed and over 160 manuscripts have been published in peer-reviewed journals by Pathway awardees.

Pathway grants are awarded in three categories: 

  1. Pathway Initiator, for postdoctoral fellows who are transitioning from training to independent research; 
  2. Pathway Accelerator, for diabetes researchers early in their independent careers; and 
  3. Pathway Visionary, for scientists established in another field who are interested in applying their expertise to diabetes research for the first time.

Pathway awardees are selected by the ADA’s Mentor Advisory Group—eminent scientists who review the core elements of exceptional science in selecting an awardee: rigorous thought processes, keen intellect, and capacity for innovation, creativity and productivity. The advisors also provide the Pathway awardees with mentorship, and scientific and professional guidance throughout the duration of their grant.

“In my six years on the Pathway mentor and selection committee, I have observed the extraordinary impact of the program first-hand,” said Christopher B. Newgard, PhD, chair of the Mentor Advisory Group. “The process has been highly competitive, with many years seeing more than 100 submitted applications across the three funding categories. This has meant that the quality of science funded has been exceptional, and the grants have clearly stimulated the launch and development of careers focused on diabetes research projects with exciting translational implications. The two awards for 2020 continue this tradition of excellence.”

Pathway is generously supported by more than 53 million dollars in contributions from corporate sponsors, individuals and foundations since the program began. Our 2020 Pathway awardees are supported in part by Discovery Sponsor, Eli Lilly and Company and Initiator Sponsor Merck & Co., Inc. “As long as people continue to live with diabetes, research that leads to better outcomes is needed,” said Sherry Martin, MD, Vice President of Medical Affairs, Eli Lilly and Company. “Lilly supports the Pathway Program because we are committed to finding new ways to improve the lives of people who are affected by this condition. With federal funding under increased pressure, diabetes research is at risk without important initiatives such as the Pathway Program. We applaud the American Diabetes Association for its commitment to funding this important work.”

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About the American Diabetes Association
Every day more than 4,000 people are newly diagnosed with diabetes in America. Nearly 115 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes and are striving to manage their lives while living with the disease. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization fighting to bend the curve on the diabetes epidemic and help people living with diabetes thrive. For nearly 80 years the ADA has been driving discovery and research to treat, manage and prevent diabetes, while working relentlessly for a cure. We help people with diabetes thrive by fighting for their rights and developing programs, advocacy and education designed to improve their quality of life. Diabetes has brought us together. What we do next will make us Connected for Life. To learn more or to get involved, visit us at or call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Join the fight with us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn).