Professor Paul Zimmet AO
MBBS, MD (Adel), PhD (Monash), FRACP, FACE, FACN, FAIID, FAFPHM, FRCP (Lon), FTSE, Honoris Causa Doctoris (Complutense, Madrid), Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa, Monash), Doctoris Philosophae, Honoris Causa (Tel Aviv University)
Professor Paul Zimmet is Professor of Diabetes at Monash University and formerly Director Emeritus, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute. In 1984, he founded the International Diabetes Institute which merged with the Baker Institute in 2008. He is Honorary President of the International Diabetes Federation and has an extensive international record in diabetes and obesity research, particularly in epidemiology and public health. His research predicted and has charted the evolving global type 2 diabetes epidemic. His epidemiological studies commenced in the Pacific, and later to Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates. In 1999, he designed and led the team that undertook the first national diabetes and lifestyle study, AusDiab.
Professor Zimmet’s metabolic and genetic studies with Professor Greg Collier, at Deakin University, led to important understanding of mechanisms in diabetes and obesity using one of the best animal models for type 2 diabetes, a gerbil, Psammomys obesus. He led the Monash team, with Professor Ian Mackay and Dr Merrill Rowley, to develop the first laboratory assay test (Anti-GAD) for predicting type 1 diabetes in children and an adult form now known widely as LADA – not the Czechoslovakian car, but Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults! This test is now used worldwide. He co-chaired the Federal Government National Diabetes Strategy Advisory Group which prepared the groundwork for the government”s “National Diabetes Strategy 2016-2020. He is currently advising Singapore in the development of their national diabetes strategy and its new program, "War on Diabetes".
Key words: Diabetes, Epidemiology, Genetics, Public Health
Professor Zimmet's current areas of research include continuing his international epidemiology activities in Mauritius and the UAE. He is a co-Principal Investigator in a major Indigenous Australian diabetes study led by Professor Alex Brown at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. He continues his research in type 2 diabetes, depression, sleep disturbances and ageing, currently initiating a research collaboration between Monash University and 2 major Israeli centres, Tel Aviv University and Tel Aviv Medical Centre. The collaboration focusses on research on the "Body Clock" to understand the epigenetic mechanisms that may explain the relationship between type 2 diabetes and the above disorders in Psammomys obesus in order to translate them for potential approaches to treatment and prevention in humans.
Professor Zimmet has published over 890 papers (see his Google Scholar profile) and is listed in the 2015 Thomson Reuter’s “Worlds-Most-Influential-Scientific-Minds” as one of 400 scientists in “Clinical Medicine” internationally.
- Co-Principal Investigator on a number of studies relating to Indigenous diabetes
Professor Zimmet’s many international and national awards include the Kelly West and Harold Rifkin Medals (American Diabetes Association), the Kellion Award (the highest scientific recognition of the Australian Diabetes Society), the Banting Award (Diabetes UK) and the Professor A.M. Cohen Memorial Award and Lecture, European Association for the Study of Diabetes in 2000. In 2010, he received the Grand Hamdan International Prize for Medical Sciences in Dubai and, in 2013, he was awarded the Wills Medal from Research Australia which recognises an Australian who has made an outstanding contribution to building Australia’s international reputation in the area of health and medical research. In 2015, he gave the Howard Florey Memorial Oration at the University of Adelaide, honouring one of the discoverers of penicillin. He holds Honorary doctorates at Complutense University (Madrid) and at Tel Aviv University.
Professional and other memberships
Professor Zimmet is an International Member of the Spanish Royal National Academy of Medicine and holds Honorary Doctorates from Madrid’s Complutense University, Monash University and Tel Aviv University. He is an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished services to medicine, nutrition and the biotechnology industry. He was Co-chair of the Federal Government’s National Diabetes Strategy Advisory Committee for developing the new 2016-2020 Strategy and was the Programme Chairman for the World Diabetes Congress held in Melbourne in 2013. At that time, this was the largest biomedical Congress ever to be held at the Melbourne Convention Centre.