by Jill Clendening
Maureen Gannon, PhD, professor of Medicine, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and Cell and Developmental Biology, is the recipient of the 2022 Lois Jovanovic Transformative Woman in Diabetes Award presented by the American Diabetes Association (ADA)
The award is given in honor of Lois Jovanovic, MD, whose pioneering work laid the foundation for the current standards of care for women with diabetes during pregnancy, and recognizes a woman who has made a significant impact in diabetes care, research, education or public health. Gannon received the award at the recent 82nd ADA Scientific Sessions in New Orleans.
“Maureen is an inspiring role model for us all because of her outstanding ability to support and mentor others, no matter where they might be in their training or career,” said Alvin Powers, MD, director of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center and chief of the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism in the Department of Medicine. “This award particularly recognizes Maureen’s impact and leadership for women in science, medicine and diabetes research. I cannot think of a more deserving recipient for this award.”
Gannon received a Bachelor of Science in biology from Molloy College and a Master of Science in biology from Adelphi University. She received a doctorate in cell biology and anatomy from Cornell University. Gannon came to Vanderbilt in 1996 as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Christopher V. Wright, DPhil, Louise B. McGavock Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology and director of the Vanderbilt University Program in Developmental Biology.
Gannon was recruited to join the Vanderbilt faculty in 2001 as an assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism and as assistant professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. In 2007, she also joined the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. In 2008 she was promoted to associate professor, and in 2016 she was promoted to professor. She is also engaged in research with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Tennessee Valley Healthcare System.
Gannon is internationally recognized for her research contributions in the field of diabetes. In 2015, she was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for distinguished research and mentoring in pancreas development and islet biology, distinguished service in diabetes awareness and outreach and commitment to science education and training.
Research in the Gannon laboratory focuses on the development and regeneration of pancreatic beta cells and has implications for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. Gannon has held multiple research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), ADA, JDRF (formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and the VA.
She has held numerous leadership roles in national organizations, including with the ADA, serving as chair of the awards committee and chair of the Scientific Sessions planning committee. Gannon is the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and abstracts. In 2021, Gannon was named senior associate editor for Diabetes, the ADA’s flagship peer-reviewed research journal.
Gannon has trained more than 30 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in diabetes research and has hosted many undergraduates and high school students in her lab. She has also given workshops nationally and internationally on topics such as imposter syndrome, effective mentoring, conflict management and communication styles.
In 2019, Gannon was awarded the Vanderbilt University Thomas A. Hazinski, MD, Award for effectiveness in mentoring and professional development for faculty. She was appointed the inaugural Associate Dean for Faculty Development at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in September 2019.
“I’m extremely honored to receive this award, especially as it is presented in tribute to the remarkable legacy and contributions of Dr. Jovanovic with whom I had the privilege to work with on the ADA awards committee,” said Gannon. “To be recognized in this way by my peers – so many of whom are leaders in this field and for whom I have the greatest respect – is truly special.
“I firmly believe that to whom much is given, much is expected. I have benefited greatly from support and sponsorship of Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and the Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center as I have pursued my research. I appreciate the opportunity to have mentored so many others along the way and look forward to continuing to do so.”