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AAVMC Names Havel as Recipient of 2020 Excellence in Research Award


January 28, 2020

Press release: Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has named Dr. Peter J. Havel from the University of California, Davis, College of Veterinary Medicine as the recipient of the 2020 AAVMC Excellence in Research Award. This year’s award is sponsored by Elanco.

Dr. Havel is a professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, and the Department of Nutrition at the University of California, Davis, where his research in the field of endocrinology and metabolism investigates the causes and consequences of obesity, type 2 diabetes and related metabolic diseases.

He has also studied the role of endocrine systems in the metabolic effects of bariatric surgery and consumption of high sugar (fructose) containing diets in both humans and animal models. This work laid the foundation to identify new interventions to manage obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Havel’s research has tackled issues important to both human and animal health and played an important role in understanding regulation of glucose metabolism in diabetes and hypoglycemia and the role and mechanisms by which sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to obesity, metabolic dysregulation and cardiovascular disease. He also directs the Endocrinology and Metabolism Core for the UC Davis Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center.

“Every day, educators and researchers at our member institutions make outstanding contributions to academic veterinary medicine that inspire others, contribute to medical breakthroughs and work to educate upcoming generations of veterinarians,” said AAVMC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. “We are pleased to honor extraordinary individuals like Dr. Havel through our awards program and look forward to recognizing his achievements during our 2020 annual conference.”

Selected by a committee of peers, the honor designates Dr. Havel as the outstanding veterinary medical researcher of the year. The AAVMC Board of Directors established the annual research award in 2010 to recognize outstanding research and scholarly achievements in the field of veterinary medicine. It recognizes an individual who, over the course of his or her career, has demonstrated excellence in original research, leadership in the scientific community, and mentoring of trainees and colleagues.

Dr. Tamas L. Horvath, chair of the Department of Comparative Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine, was among those who nominated Dr. Havel for the award. He described Dr. Havel as “a pioneering veterinary scientist who opened-up new vistas with his groundbreaking studies. In elegant set of experiments, Dr. Havel’s laboratory has been providing mechanistic explanations of how dietary fructose, by impacting insulin and leptin secretion and liver lipid homeostasis, may be one of the crucial reasons for the [worldwide] obesity epidemic. It cannot be emphasized enough how these observations impact human and animal health.”

Dr. Havel has authored or co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed original research reports and published numerous review articles and textbook chapters in the areas of metabolism, nutrition, obesity and diabetes mellitus. He serves as the executive editor for endocrine physiology, nutrition and metabolism for the “Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry” and has served on the editorial boards of numerous journals, including the “American Journal of Physiology,” the” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism” and the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Molecular Metabolism.”

Dr. Havel’s research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Diabetes Association. He has also served as an external grant reviewer for numerous universities and associations, including the American Association for Advancement of Sciences and the NIH.

He earned his B.S. in zoology from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in Endocrinology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Havel’s award will be presented during the AAVMC’s 2020 Annual Conference and Iverson Bell Symposium, taking place March 6-8 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

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