Honorary Degrees

N.B.: The detail displayed about each honorary degree recipient varies, as the database was compiled from a variety of sources. However, more information may be available at the University Archives.

Name: Mladen Vranic
Convocation date: June 2, 2011
Discipline / contribution: medical research
Citation / biographical information:


A leading advocate for the advancement of his discipline for close to five decades, Dr. Vranic has changed the landscape of diabetes research, not only in Canada, but internationally. His hypothesis concerning factors that determine beneficial or deleterious effects of exercise in diabetes is now universally accepted, as is his critical concept of how muscle, liver and pancreatic cells adapt to hyperglycemia. He pioneered techniques to further scientific knowledge of the effects of exercise, insulin, glucagon and other factors on metabolism and provided a cornerstone for quantifying hormonal interactions in glucoregulation and the pathogenesis of diabetes, leading to new avenues of treatment. By purifying and determining biological activity of stomach glucagon, he provided the first evidence of glucagon’s extrapancreatic site, changing prevailing concepts that one hormone is synthesized in one gland. His collaborative studies of showing that type 1 diabetics quickly mobilize insulin during exercise, led to precise methods for controlling insulin so that today, we see Olympians with type 1 diabetes, and are able to recommend regular exercise along with healthy eating habits to prevent type 2 diabetes. Today, his long-standing focus on glucose regulation is on the verge of providing new methods to treat hypoglycemic responses – a potentially devastating complication of insulin treatment in type 1 diabetes. He has trained and mentored innumerable renowned scientists and academic leaders, and has himself a history of outstanding scientific achievements.

Dr. Vranic’s tremendous contributions have been recognized with his induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame; a singular honour only awarded to the elite of Canada’s scientific community. His honours include Orders of Canada (Officer), and Ontario. Inaugural awards include the Canadian Diabetes Association’s lifetime achievement as well as Banting and Best Memorial Award, and the Mizuno Lectureship and Award from Japan. He is the only Canadian to receive the Banting Medal and Lectureship for Distinguished Scientific Achievement, and the Albert Renold Award for the training of students and Fellows who are now leaders in the field of diabetes research. He received the Solomon A. Berson distinguished lectureship from the American Physiological society. During sabbaticals he has been an invited professor at the University of Geneva and Oxford University and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, Croatian Academy of Arts and Science (corresponding member), and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Dr. Vranic holds honorary degrees from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, and the University of Toronto. Professor Vranic epitomizes the scientists working at the leading edge of his field, and what is generally considered to be of critical importance in medical science today, a scientist who conducts fundamental science at the forefront, but who understands and is able to transfer these insights to the clinic and to the industry.
Degree received: Doctor of Science
Degree presented by: Karen Chad

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