Dr. George F. Cahill Jr. was a diabetes expert who investigated how the starvation diet affected obesity and diabetes.
He began his education at Yale University at the age of 16, before graduating medical school at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1953.
Cahill studied glucose metabolism, and joined the Joslin Diabetes Centre in 1962 as research director.
During this period, Cahill tracked the blood chemistry of obese patients being treated with total starvation for up to six weeks.
He discovered that the liver starts breaking down protein to make glucose for the brain within the first few days without food. According to Dr. Joseph Avruch, a professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School, Cahill’s studies provided new insights into how starvation and insulin regulated the metabolism.
Cahill went on to develop high-energy food bars for the military as emergency rations. He later became the Professor of Medicine at Harvard University, where he taught until 1990.
During his time teaching, his class at Harvard had to be moved to an auditorium that seated over 400 people, as the original 100-seat room did not cater to the demand.
Before his death in 2012, the George Cahill, MD, Scholarship Fund was set up at Joslin to continue Cahill’s tradition of mentoring students ahead of their careers in diabetes research