Biography: Ralph A. DeFronzo, MD

Ralph A. DeFronzo, MD
  • Professor of Medicine
  • Chief of the Diabetes Division
  • University of Texas Health Science Center
  • San Antonio, TX

Ralph A. DeFronzo, MD, is the Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Diabetes Division at the University of Texas Health Science Center and the Deputy Director of the Texas Diabetes Institute, San Antonio, Texas. Dr. DeFronzo is a graduate of Yale University (BS) and Harvard Medical School (MD) and did his training in Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He completed fellowships in Endocrinology at the National Institutes of Health and Baltimore City Hospitals and in Nephrology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Subsequently, he joined the faculty at the Yale University School of Medicine (1975-88) as an Assistant/Associate Professor. From 1988 to present Dr. DeFronzo has been the Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Diabetes Division at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He also serves as the Deputy Director of the Texas Diabetes Institute.

His major interests focus on the pathogenesis and treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus and the central role of insulin resistance in the metabolic-cardiovascular cluster of disorders known collectively as the Insulin Resistance Syndrome. Using the euglycemic insulin clamp technique in combination with radioisotope turnover methodology, limb catheterization, indirect calorimetry, and muscle biopsy, he has helped to define the biochemical and molecular disturbances responsible for insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes mellitus.

For his work in this area, Dr. DeFronzo received the prestigious Lilly Award (1987) by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the Banting Lectureship (1988) by the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Novartis Award (2003) for outstanding clinical investigation worldwide and many other national and international awards. He also is the recipient of the ADA’s Albert Renold Award (2002) for a lifetime commitment to the training of young diabetes investigators. Dr. DeFronzo received the Banting Award from the ADA (2008) and the Claude Bernard Award from the EASD (2008). These represent the highest scientific achievement awards given by the American and European Diabetes Associations, respectively. In 2008 Dr. DeFronzo also received the Italian Diabetes Mentor Prize and the Philip Bondy Lecture at Yale. In 2009 he received the Presidential Award for Distinguished Scientific Achievement from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. DeFronzo received the Outstanding Clinical Investigator Worldwide Award by CODHy (2012), the Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award from the American College of Nutrition (2014), the Samuel Eichold II Memorial Award for Contributions in Diabetes from the American College of Physicians (2015), the George Cahill Memorial Lecture from the University of Montreal (2015) and the Priscilla White Memorial Lecture from the Joslin Clinic & Brigham and Women’s Hospital (2015). Most recently (2017), Dr. DeFronzo received the Hamm International Prize for his many seminal observations on the pathogenesis and treatment of type 2 diabetes and the Distinction in Endocrinology Award from the American College of Endocrinology. With more than 800 articles published in peer-reviewed medical journals, Dr. DeFronzo is a distinguished clinician, teacher, and investigator who has been an invited speaker at major national and international conferences on diabetes mellitus.

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