Imrich Sečanský

(September 6th, 1914 Budapest – October 29th, 2013 Bratislava)

After his studies at the Medical Faculty at Charles University in Prague and at the Slovak University in Bratislava he began to work as a physician at the Sanatorium of the Workers Social Insurance Company in Slovakia. During the post-war period, he understood that nutrition is important part of the therapy. He therefore established a nutritional system in hospitals driven by the principle that energy content and specific food components should be indicated specifically according to the patient`s needs (disease character and stage). Moreover he stands behind the canteen alimentation system for schools, factories and public sector in the post-war Slovakia.

Imrich Sečanský was the founder and the director of the State Institute for the Nutrition of People & Dietetics, the founder of a School for Dietary Nursing, the co-founder of the very first Hotel School in Piešťany and the first dietary restaurant in Czechoslovakia. From 1953 to 1994 he worked as an internal medicine specialist and diabetologist at the National Health Institute in Bratislava. He worked as a physician until he was 82 years old.

His research and publishing activities in the field of internal medicine, diabetology, dietetics and nutrition were rich and abundant. He focused on these issues in more than 20 monographic and collective writings, several of which were translated into Czech, Polish and Russian.

His popular articles have been published since 1930 in major Slovak newspapers (Práca, Pravda, Smena, Večerník) and magazines (DAV, Pero, Slovenka, Slovensko, Život). He is also the author of Slovak memoir literature, “Spomienky a vyznania lekára. Polstoročie slovenskej internej medicíny”, for which he was awarded the Egon Erwin Kisch prize (1998). He received many awards for his scientific and publishing activities. In 2013, he was inducted to the Slovak Medical Society Hall of Fame.

Obesitology Section of the Slovakian Diabetes Society is awarding the Dr. Imrich Sečanský Award on the occasion of Slovak Obesitology Congress for an invaluable contribution to the field of obesitology at both national and international level.

The first holder of the Sečanský Award A/prof Boris Krahulec, MD, PhD was the first chairman of the Obesitology Section of the Slovakia Diabetology Society (2002–2014) and the founder of Slovak Obesitology Congress.

In 2016, the Sečanský Award was presented to A/prof. Igo Kajaba, MD, PhD, a specialist in nutrition, internal medicine, gastroenterology and clinical dietology.

This year Sečanský Award is to be presented to Professor MD Iwar Klimeš, DrSc. for his life-time scientific achievements in the field of clinical and molecular pathophysiology and genetics of obesity, metabolic and endocrine diseases.

Sečanský inaugural lecture

Monogenic diabetes and obesity in Slovakia
Klimeš I, Staník J, Gašperíková D (Slovakia)

Professor Iwar Klimeš, professor of pathophysiology, endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at the Comenius University School of Medicine in Bratislava has spent four decades in basic and clinical research in integrated physiology, genetics, diagnostics and treatment of diabetes, metabolic and endocrine diseases. He worked at the Slovak Academy of Sciences, where he served as a director of the Institute of Experimental Endocrinology (currently part of the Biomedical Research Center) from 2008 until 2016. During his research career he worked at several excellent scientific institutions all over the world including NIDDKD-NIH, Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, USA; Medlantic Research Institute, Washington, DC, USA; University of Leicester, UK and Garvan Research Institute, Sydney, Australia. Professor Klimeš established the Laboratory of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders at Slovak Academy of Sciences and DIABGENE, the first DNA diagnostic laboratory for monogenic diabetes and obesity in Slovakia.

His professional interests reached for many pathophysiological components leading to type 2 diabetes mellitus, such as obesity, impaired lipid metabolism and insulin resistance and included molecular mechanisms and important clinical aspects of the aforementioned pathophysiologies. In the last decade professor Klimeš has focused on the causal mechanisms explaining the various monogenic forms of diabetes mellitus and severe syndromic obesity. His main research achievements include the first pathophysiological explanation of intensified insulin treatment in patients with type 2. diabetes, his laboratory also participated to the breakthrough international study providing a proof of concept for the possibility of life-changing pharmacological treatment in patients with specific form of monogenic diabetes associated with defect in insulin secretion due to specific mutations in potassium channel of the B-cells of the pancreatic islets. In Slovakia, he created new research school aimed at elucidating the role of genetics and diet in the pathophysiology of diabetes and metabolic disorders.

Professor Klimeš was the editor of several international journals including Diabetologia, Archives of Biochemistry and Physiology and Diabetes and Stoffwechsel. He served as international panel expert evaluator for European Commission. Moreover, he served as president of the Slovak Endocrine Society, chairmen of the Slovak “Research Professor Board” and vice-president of the Slovakian Diabetes Society. His scientific work led to more than 200 in extenso publications, he is author or co-author of 6 monographs, the editor of 4 textbooks on diabetes, endocrinology and obesity, and he was invited as a plenary speaker to more than 20 international scientific meetings.