Domenico Accili is a physician and researcher at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. He serves as the Russell BerrieFoundation Professorof Diabetes, and as Chief of the Endocrinology Division in the Department of Medicine.
Inspired by his early experience providing primary medical care to an underserved community, his research seeks to bring change to diabetes treatment from the current "treat to fail" approach to disease reversal or modification. In type 1 diabetes, a disease characterized by autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing cells that requires lifelong insulin replacement, he seeks to restore themissing cells by pharmacological conversion of intestinal epithelial cells into insulin-producing cells, leveraging a property discovered in his laboratory. He envisions to overhaul the current complex, expensive, and burdensome insulin therapy into an oral treatment that doesn't require injections or glucose monitoring and doesn't entail the constant risk of hypoglycemia. In type 2 diabetes, his laboratory has discovered that beta cell failure, long held to be an irreversible consequence of insulin-producing cell death, results from a dedifferentiation process, whereby cells lose the ability to make insulinand revert to a progenitor stage. He has shownt h a t the processi s pharmacologically reversible and has identified actionable targets for therapeutic intervention that will be tested in the clinic.
Accili's body of work has been recognized with the main awards in his field of endeavor, including the Banting Medal and the Lilly Award of the American Diabetes Association, the Claude Bernard Medal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, and Japan's Suzuki Manpei Prize. His work is widely published and has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for over 30 years. His numerous trainees hold leadership positions in academia and pharma worldwide.