Albert Renold

Albert Renold was born on the 10th of July, 1923 in Karlsruhe, Germany. His father was a Swiss physician, his mother came from a south German family. One of his ancestors was the romantic painter Georg Friedrich Kersting (1785-1847). He grew up in the Italian and French parts of Switzerland, went to school in Montreux and Lausanne and studied medicine at the University of Zürich from 1941 to 1947. This explains his early mastery of German, French and Italian. His thesis on alloxan diabetes was the beginning of his life-long interest in diabetes.

Moving to Boston

Albert Renold
Albert Renold
As a recipient of an American-Swiss Foundation for Scientific Exchanges Fellowship, Renold became research fellow at the New England Deaconess Hospital Boston, MA in 1948 with Elliott P.Joslin and Alexander Marble, and at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital with George W. Thorn. He subsequently worked with A. Baird Hastings at the Department of Biological Chemistry, Harvard Medical School. In 1956 he was appointed Director of the Carbohydrate Research Laboratory within the Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School .

In 1959, he became Director of the Baker Clinic Research Laboratory at the New England Deaconess Hospital, later to be renamed the Elliott P.Joslin Research Laboratory. Under his leadership, the Joslin Research Laboratory became the Mecca for diabetes research in the United States attracting numerous fellows from the country and abroad. Renold centred his own research on the effects of insulin on the adipose tissue using as a tool the epididymal fat pad of the rat. The important results of these years were summarized in the masterpiece that is the volume on Adipose Tissue published in 1965 in the Handbook of Physiology by the American Physiological Society and edited by Albert E.Renold and George F. Cahill. Cahill was Renold’s coworker and excellent friend, he succeded him as Director of the Joslin Laboratory.

Returning to Switzerland

In 1963, Albert Renold accepted the invitation of the University of Geneva to become Professor at the Faculty of Medicine. He founded , in an old villa of the Sentier de la Roseraie, the Institut de Biochimie Clinique where he created a unique atmosphere that charmed every visitor and attracted numerous scientists from all over the world. The names of the visitors and the short- and long-term guests of the Institute from 1963 to 1988 read like a Who’s who in Diabetology. His close coworkers in Geneva included Bernard Jeanrenaud, Claes Wollweim and Lelio Orci. He particularly focussed his attention on the analysis of various spontaneous and chemically-induced diabetes syndromes in rodents. He stressed that animal models provide lessons for the future investigation of diabetes in humans.

Impacting European Research

EASD Albert Renold Medal
EASD Albert Renold Medal
The personality and organizational skills of Albert Renold gave him an unprecedented impact on diabetes and clinical research in Europe. At a small European Diabetes Symposium organized by Professor Eric Martin in Geneva in 1963 to welcome the return to Europe of Albert Renold, the idea was circulated to create a European Association for the Study of Diabetes, later to be known as EASD.

Discussions were intense about the structure of the new association, should it be a Federation of national associations or a true association of individuals interested in diabetes research. Renold strongly advocated the second option. The EASD was initiated by a group of 66 diabetologists from eleven european countries who attended the Vth Congress of the International Diabetes Federation in Toronto in July 1964, and the mandate was given to Renold to act as Honorary Secretary.

Under Renold’s leadership the first EASD Congress and General Assembly were held in April 1965 in Montecatini, Italy. With the part-time help of his personal secretary, Albert Renold has establihed the EASD as one of the most active medical research organizations in Europe. He was EASD President in 1974-1977. Albert Renold has been the soul and spirit of the EASD. His action is remembered by an annual Lecture after his name, travel fellowships to young European scientists and by an Albert Renold Medal for Distinguished Services to the Association. In addition to diabetes, Albert Renold also played a critical role in the establishment of an European Society for Clinical Investigation.

Recognition and character

Albert Renold accepted to be Vice-President of the University of Geneva, Vice President of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences and President (1979-1982) of the International Diabetes Federation. In addition to numerous Prizes and Awards he received Honorary MD degrees from the Free University of Brussels, Belgium and the University of Torino, Italy.

As stated by his close coworkers, Lelio Orci and Claes Wollheim : «_ Albert Renold had all the characteristics of a great man. His creativity and imagination, together with broadmindedness, Albert Renold and Dr von Wasielewski  signing the Minkowski Award Diploma In 1976 in Helsinki
Albert Renold and Dr von Wasielewski signing the Minkowski Award Diploma In 1976 in Helsinki
humanity and humour, made him a natural organiser and compassionate leader. His never-failing capacity to listen, combined with understanding and tolerance for the view of others, were some of his most prominent characteristics. He remained extremely humble and was always prepared to help anybody seeking advice, a favour by no means restricted to his friends and pupils._ » Nothing to add.


  • Orci L, Wollheim CB (1988) Albert Renold : July 10,1923-March 21, 1988 Diabetologia 31 :335-336

  • Creutzfeldt W (1988) Albert E. Renold Europ J Clin Invest 18 : 431-432

  • Renold AE, Cahill GF Eds (1965) Handbook of Physiology, Section 5 Adipose Tissue, American Physiological Society, Washington, 824 pages

  • Shafrir E, Renold AE Eds (1981) Lessons from Animal Diabetes John Libbey, London

  • Shafrir E, Renold AE Eds (1988) Frontiers in Diabetes Research : Lessons from Animal Diabetes II John Libbey, London


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