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Center for Diabetes Research

Prof. Oddmund Søvik turns 80

Professor Oddmund Søvik turns eighty years on November 21, 2013. He is an excellent pediatric diabetologist and scientist, and has been an important member of our research group for more than 15 years.

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Oddmund Søvik became an MD in 1959 and was awarded a PhD degree in medical biochemistry at the University of Oslo in 1967. He was an NIH international postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Physiology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, 1965-66. After training in pediatrics he became associate professor in 1973 and was promoted to full professor at the Department of Pediatrics, University of Bergen in 1985. Søvik is presently professor emeritus at the same institution. In 1982-83 he was visiting scientist at the Department of Pediatrics, University of California San Diego and in 1989-90 visiting professor at Hôpital des Enfants Malades, Paris.

Søvik’s scientific career has focused on clinical and experimental studies of diabetes and metabolic diseases, and he has made several important contributions to these fields.  As such, his work has enhanced the understanding of insulin action, glycogen synthesis, insulin resistance in congenital generalized lipodystrophy, persistent hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia of infancy, glycogen storage disease, and various aspects of clinical diabetology. By recognizing the importance of epidemiological data in research as well as in planning of patient care, he established the National Registry of Childhood Diabetes, the first of its kind in Norway.

During later years, Søvik’s main interest has been maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY). He was the first to observe the clinical association of mild diabetes, severe non-diabetic kidney disease and genital malformations (MODY5). He also made an important contribution to identifying homozygous glucokinase deficiency as a new inborn error of metabolism, causing congenital diabetes.

Oddmund Søvik has always been interested in ethical questions in medicine as well as the history of science and population health in a world perspective. He has written several books on these subjects.