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Massimo Pietropaolo Named McNair Scholar at Baylor

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The McNair Scholar program at Baylor identifies influential researchers in breast and pancreatic cancer, juvenile diabetes and neuroscience. It is supported by the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation and managed by the McNair Medical Institute. With this funding, Pietropaolo was recruited to Baylor as a professor of medicine in the department of pathology and immunology.

Pietropaolo earned his medical doctorate from the University of Perugia, Italy, and completed a research fellowship at the Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School.

As the first scientist to discover the neuroendocrine autoantigen ICA69, a key regulator of the formation and maturation of insulin in pancreatic beta cells, he has made groundbreaking contributions to the adaptive immune responses directed to ICA69 and the islet autoantigen IA-2 to identify subjects who have the greatest risk of developing juvenile diabetes, opening new avenues in the search of ways to prevent the disease .

Currently, Dr. Pietropaolo’s laboratory is in the process of identifying the molecular structure of immunoglobulins s directed to the islet cell molecule IA-2 by targeted mass spectrometry (MS) and barcode sequencing methodologies. This may provide a powerful new tool for understanding autoantibody responses in children with type 1 diabetes and first degree relatives of type 1 diabetic patients undergoing immunologic treatment for type 1 diabetes.

His work has been published in more than 100 peer-reviewed articles. Pietropaolo also has been honored with numerous awards including an Investigator Award from the Association of American Physicians, the Career Development Award from the American Diabetes Association and the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Perugia, School of Medicine, Italy.

Additionally, he serves as chair and reviewer in a number of National Institutes of Health study sections, he is co-director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Biomarker Working Group and a standing member of the Type 1 Diabetes Exchange Biobank Scientific Review Committee.