Graeme Bell, PhD

Graeme Bell, PhD, is the Louis Block Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago. He is Director of the University of Chicago Diabetes Research and Training Center and a leading authority on the genetics of diabetes mellitus.

Dr. Bell cloned the human insulin cDNA and gene and showed that common variation in the human insulin gene contributes to the development of type 1 diabetes. He and his longtime collaborator, Dr. Nancy Cox, showed that mutations in the genes for the glycolytic enzyme, glucokinase, and the transcription factors, HNF-1a, HNF-1b and HNF-4a, caused an early-onset form of diabetes called maturity-onset diabetes of the young or MODY. Once thought to be a very rare form of diabetes, MODY represent 1 percent to 5 percent of cases of diabetes, and correct genetic diagnosis can alter treatment and improve clinical outcome. Dr. Bell’s search for the genetic causes of diabetes continues, and he, Dr. Cox, Dr. Donald F. Steiner and Dr. Louis Philipson recently showed that mutations in the insulin gene were a common cause of diabetes with onset in the first few months of life.

Dr. Bell is a professor in the University of Chicago’s Department of Medicine and Department of Medicine and a member of the Committee on Genetics, Genomics, & Systems Biology, Committee on Molecular Pathogenesis & Molecular Medicine, Committee on Molecular Metabolism & Nutrition and Committee on Clinical & Translational Science. He has published more than 400 peer-reviewed articles.


University of Calgary (Canada)

University of California – San Francisco

Awards and Honors

Elliot P. Joslin Research and Development Award – American Diabetes Association

Mary Jane Kugel Award – Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International

Rolf Luft Award – Swedish Medical Society

William C. Stadie Award of the Greater Philadelphia Affiliate of the American Diabetes Association

Kroc Lectureship – Diabetes Research Center, University of Washington

Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award by an Investigator (Lilly Award) – American Diabetes Association

Max Miller Memorial Lecture – Midwest Metabolism Club

Distinguished Alumni Award – University of Calgary

Roerig Pfizer Visiting Professor – The Diabetes Institutes, Eastern Virginia Medical School

Ray A. and Robert L. Kroc Lectureship – University of Alabama at Birmingham

2nd Clifford Wilson Eli Lilly Diabetes Care Lecture – The Royal London Hospital, London, United Kingdom

17th Archibald Byron Macallum Lecture – University of Toronto

Bristol-Myers Squibb Unrestricted Grant Award (Cardiovascular Research)

Gerold and Kayla Grodsky Basic Research Scientist Award – Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International

Rolf Luft Lecturer for Outstanding Contribution to Diabetology – European Association for the Study of Diabetes, Stockholm

Banting Memorial Lecture – British Diabetic Association

AZA Lecture – Australian Diabetes Society, Sydney

Elected to The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences

Honorary Member, La Sociedad Argentina de Diabetes

Naomi Berrie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Diabetes Research – Columbia University, New York

Benjamin F. Stapleton, Jr. Lecture – University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver

J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine (shared with C. Ronald Kahn and Åke Lernmark)

Distinguished Open Lecture – The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago

International Visiting Professorship, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe, Japan

Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics Visiting Professorship – University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Grodsky Award and Lecture, Western Regional Islet Study Group Meeting

Inaugural Stefan S. Fajans Lecture in Diabetes – University of Michigan