A pioneering diabetes researcher has been presented with a top award for his work by a major Hollywood actor who has type 1 diabetes.
Jeremy Irvine, who starred in the 2011 blockbuster War Horse, gave Dr Roman Hovorka JDRF’s Gerold and Kayla Grodsky Award which is bestowed upon people who have made outstanding scientific contributions in the world of diabetes.
Dr Hovorka, from the University of Cambridge, has been recognised for helping to develop the artificial pancreas. The technology works by mimicking the function of a human pancreas in monitoring blood sugar levels and delivering appropriate basal doses of insulin in response.
Mr Irvine, who is set to appear in The Guinea Pig Club later this year alongside Richard E Grant, was asked to present the prize because he has had type 1 diabetes since he was six. The 26-year-old also took part in the some of the trials which were carried out on the artificial pancreas in the early part of development.
The actor said: “I’m utterly delighted to see Dr Roman Hovorka’s incredible work celebrated by JDRF. As a teenager, I took part in his early JDRF-funded artificial pancreas trials. I saw first-hand how he and his team in Cambridge were working to change the lives of people with type 1 diabetes through great science. Congratulations, Roman.
“When the chance came for me to take part in early artificial pancreas trials, I jumped at the opportunity. I wanted to play my own very small part in moving the artificial pancreas closer to reality.”
Dr Hovorka, who joined the university in 2004, has dedicated much of his work there “gaining insights into physiology through mathematical modelling and developing control algorithms, the step-by-step calculations that lie at the heart of the artificial pancreas.”
Research carried out on the artificial pancreas has so far shown it delivers insulin effectively and that health outcomes in patients can be significantly improved. JDRF, which funds research into treating and trying to prevent type 1 diabetes, has supported Dr Horvoka’s work over the years.
Speaking of the community of JDRF supporters that help his work, Dr Horvoka said: “What you’ve been doing is just great and I can’t fault it in any way.”
The award presentation took place at the JDRF One Conference in Chicago.

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