NIH 1998 Almanac/The Organization/NIDDK/
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases : Biographical Sketch of NIDDK Director
Phillip Gorden, M.D.
Born December 22, 1934, in Baldwyn, Miss., Dr.
Gorden received his B.A. from Vanderbilt University in 1957 and his M.D. from Vanderbilt
University School of Medicine in 1961. He completed his internship and residency at Yale
University and began his research career as a PHS clinical fellow and research fellow in
metabolism there in 1964.
He joined NIDDK in 1966 as senior investigator in
the Clinical Endocrinology Branch, and, in 1974, he became senior investigator in the
Diabetes Branch. From 1976 to 1978, he was a visiting professor at the Institute of
Histology and Embryology at the University of Geneva School of Medicine in Switzerland.
From 1974 to 1976 and 1980 to 1986, he was institute clinical director.
In 1983 Dr. Gorden was appointed chief of the
Diabetes Branch. He has held the position of chief, section on clinical and cellular
biology of the Diabetes Branch since 1978. For several years, Dr. Gorden has held
appointments as clinical professor of medicine, Uniformed Services Medical School in
Bethesda, Md., and clinical associate professor, Howard University School of Medicine,
He was appointed director, NIDDK, on September 5,
1986, to succeed Dr. Lipsett. He was sworn in as an assistant surgeon general (rear
admiral) of the USPHS on June 15, 1989.
An internationally recognized expert in diabetes,
endocrinology, and metabolism, Dr. Gordens research interests include disorders of
insulin secretion, heterogeneity of circulating polypeptide hormones, hypoglycemic states,
and disorders of growth hormone secretion. In collaboration with leading scientists in the
diabetes field, he has extensively studied insulin-resistant states in man, especially
those characterized by disorders of the insulin receptor, and has pioneered work on
receptor mediated endocytosis of polypeptide hormones.
He is the author of more than 250 scientific
papers and has received many honors and awards for his work. In 1986 he was presented an
honorary doctorate by the University of Geneva in Switzerland for collaborative research
relating to diabetes and the mechanisms of insulin action, which has been conducted with
the university over the past 10 years. Also in 1986, he was awarded the PHS Distinguished
In 1988 Dr. Gorden received the PHS Commendation
Medal. In 1990 he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award and Medal from Vanderbilt
University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn. He was honored "for his high
achievement through outstanding leadership and contributions to the profession as
distinguished physician, clinical scientist, and progressive leader supporting the
profession and reflecting high honor on his alma mater through his actions as physician,
researcher, alumnus director at NIH and national and international contributor to the
profession of medicine."
He received the Instituto Rotariano per l'Italia
Meridonale Award of the Rotary International in Naples, Italy, and the Public Information
Award of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International in 1992. In 1993 he received the
National Scientific Leadership Award of the Crohns and Colitis Foun-dation of
America, and the PHS Surgeon Generals Exemplary Service Medal.
Dr. Gorden in 1994 received the David Rumbough
Award for Research from the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, International; the John K.
Lattimer Award from the American Urological Association in 1996;
the Distinguished Service Award from the American
Society of Nephrology in 1997; and in 1998 the Distinguished Scientist Award from the
National Disease Research Interchange and the Sidney H. Ingbar Distinguished Service Award
from the Endocrine Society.
Directors of NIDDK