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Obituary

11/15/2016

Alain Ktorza, PhD
Alain Ktorza

The IGIS community has been deprived of one of its outstanding members, Alain Ktorza, who passed away on October 18, 2016. Alain was the secretary of the IGIS Board since 2004.

Alain Ktorza received his PhD from the University of Paris 7 – Denis Diderot in 1986. He remained affiliated with this University throughout his academic career, starting as an “Associate Assistant” and ending as a Full Professor of Endocrinology & Metabolism (1997) and Director of the UMR – CNRS Research Unit 7059 (2000). In 2004, he was recruited by Servier to direct the division of Discovery Research in Metabolism – Therapeutic Innovation Poles. Indeed, Alain’s scientific interests throughout life have been focused on diabetes, and specifically on the function and malfunction of the beta cell. He published numerous papers in high-impact journals on the effect of lipids and glucose on islet function and gene expression; but most notable are his studies on the plasticity of adult beta cells in response to chronic challenges. He was among the pioneers in discovering that the beta cell physical and functional mass is highly responsive to environmental/metabolic cues, a field that has since developed to become one of the most intensively researched topics in diabetes. Even before joining Servier he was interested in searching for small-molecular agents to improve the function of failing beta cells in diabetes. In recent years, this became a major focus of his scientific activity, both in-house at Servier and in collaboration with academic and industrial research groups, including EU-funded consortia. Alain’s input to Diabetes and Metabolism research at Servier has been invaluable. To wit, the astounding transformation of the Servier laboratories achieved under Alain’s watch. True to his nature, Alain achieved everything in a calm, harmonious, and friendly way; he was a firm believer that authority is not gained by bullying, but by sharing knowledge and experience, and showing continuing concern for one’s associates. As for IGIS, he was convinced of its impact in the diabetes community at large and for Servier itself; he was a steadfast supporter of our work.

Alain Ktorza was a sophisticated man with a natural kindness that made him extremely attractive. Many of us were fortunate to know him since the early stages of his career and to also enjoy his friendship outside our professional lives. We lost a wonderful human being. He will be dearly missed.

Domenico Accili, Bo Ahrén, Christian Boitard, Erol Cerasi, Susumu Seino, Bernard Thorens