The Richard T. Crane Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Medicine
Dean, Division of the Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine
In addition to his roles as a researcher, physician, and educator, Kenneth S. Polonsky serves as the executive vice president for medical affairs, overseeing the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Polonsky’s recent research has focused on novel, sensitive, and accurate methods of evaluating beta cell function in people with mild diabetes or who have not yet developed diabetes and on forms of diabetes that result from genetic causes. He currently is studying genes that increase the risk for type 2 diabetes and evaluating drugs that stimulate insulin secretion.
A member since 2006 of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, one of the highest honors medical scientists in the United States can receive, Polonsky has won multiple awards, including the Young Investigator Award from the American Federation of Clinical Research in 1993, the Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award of the American Diabetes Association in 1994, and a highly selective National Institutes of Health MERIT Award in 1997. In 2007, he was named director of the five-year, $50-million National Institutes of Health–funded Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. In 2009 he was elected an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.
He has published more than 250 papers and has served on the editorial boards of several journals and on national and regional committees of a number of organizations, including the American Diabetes Association and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He was a member of the board of directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Polonsky earned his MD from the University of Witwatersrand Medical School, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Polonsky joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2011.