Diabetes research at the University of Michigan Program for Neurology Research & Discovery raised a pillar of support today with the establishment of the Rose C. and Nathan L. Milstein Family Emerging Scholar Fund, which will provide funding in perpetuity for a PNR&D junior faculty member investigating diabetes. The first recipient will be Dr. Stephanie Eid.
The Milstein Family Foundation has donated regularly to PNR&D diabetes research for nearly 20 years. The most recent gift for $30,000 pushed total contributions to the fund to more than $500,000 to endow the Milstein Family Emerging Scholar Fund at Michigan Medicine. Alene Lipshaw, granddaughter of Rose and Nathan Milstein, and her husband, Jeff, have been the stewards of the Milstein Family Foundation in recent years.
“I am so incredibly thankful for Alene and Jeff’s transformative gift to support diabetes research in my laboratory,” said Eva Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., the Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology. “The Milstein Family Emerging Scholar program will allow us to continue attracting the world’s most talented young diabetes scientists.”
The inaugural Rose C. and Nathan L. Milstein Family Emerging Scholar will be Stephanie Eid, Ph.D., who is currently investigating how the nerve cells of diabetics use sugar and fat for energy production. As energy is produced, waste products known as free radicals accumulate and create oxidative stress. This stress directly leads to nerve damage. Her goal is to fully understand how free radicals are impacting nerves so that she can find a counteracting target for drug therapy.
“Jeff and I consider it a privilege to support Dr. Feldman, Dr. Eid and the amazing diabetes research taking place at the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery,” said Alene Lipshaw, who is the granddaughter of Rose and Nathan Milstein. “My grandparents’ philanthropic vision was to improve public healthcare through research and education. We are very excited to play a part in the breakthroughs that are being developed to treat diabetes.”
Diabetes has become an epidemic in the United States. More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, while 85 million more have prediabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, healthcare expenses for diabetes cost the U.S. $327 billion per year.
Diabetic nerve damage is the most common complication of diabetes. The damage begins with tingling or painful sensations in the feet with a gradual upward movement along the limbs, and ultimately results in complete loss of sensation. Additionally, people with diabetes have a 50-75% greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
About the Program for Neurology Research and Discovery: Under the direction of Dr. Eva Feldman since 2000, PNR&D is a group of 30-plus scientists, clinicians, and students, who are working toward the common goal of understanding and curing neurological diseases, especially ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetic neuropathy.