Michael Haller, M.D.

Professor and Chief of Pediatrics

College of Medicine

2017 Awardee

Michael Haller’s research focuses on improving our understanding of the natural history of Type 1 diabetes in order to inform our efforts to ultimately prevent and reverse the disease.

“My interest in Type 1 diabetes was initially sparked by my experiences watching my grandfather live with diabetes,” Haller said. “However, my passion for research as a means to improve the lives of patients and families affected by diabetes was the result of a medical student summer research experience provided by my lifelong mentor, Dr. Desmond Schatz.”

Improving understanding of how Type 1 diabetes develops is essential to the progress of innovative treatments to prevent and ultimately reverse the disease, which can result in a lifelong dependence on numerous daily insulin injections to avoid lasting complications of diabetes, such as nerve and kidney damage.

One of his most significant involvements was an NIH-funded study referred to as The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young. This internationally collaborative study screened over 400,000 newborns to identify more than 20,000 at risk for developing Type 1 diabetes.

Following these identifications, more than 8,000 children enrolled in a 15-year observational study aiming to detect possible environmental triggers of the disease.

“We have already gained important insights as to the potential complex causes of Type 1 diabetes and remain hopeful that this effort will direct development of a successful means of preventing and reversing the disease,” Haller said.

His current work also focuses on preserving insulin-producing cell functions in at-risk or newly diagnosed patients.

Haller is the division chief of the Pediatric Endocrinology Division at UF, which has received an award for its expertise five times in the past six years. He is the Silverstein Family Eminent Scholar Chair in Pediatric Endocrinology and has received the Mary Tyler Moore Excellence in Clinical Research Award from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.