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David L. Taylor
Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Last modified: Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Leading biochemist explains 'Miraculous Molecules' in 2011 Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture

April 6, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.-- Diabetes affects nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States -- 8.3 percent of the population. In 2010 alone, nearly two million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people aged 20 and older. Clearly, the development of new drugs that help to manage diabetes is a vital pursuit.

Richard DiMarchi

Photo by Ric Cradick

Richard DiMarchi

Print-Quality Photo

Richard DiMarchi, the Linda & Jack Gill Chair in biomolecular sciences and professor of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington, is at the forefront of developing new life-altering medicines for treatment of diabetes. A former group vice president at Eli Lilly and Co., DiMarchi is widely known for his discovery and development of rDNA-derived Humalog® (LisPro-human insulin).

Two years after joining IU Bloomington in 2003, he co-founded the startup company Marcadia Biotech. Located in Carmel, Ind., the company was recently purchased by Roche for an initial $287 million, with the potential for an additional $250 million dependent on developmental milestones. The promising treatments being developed by Marcadia are based in large part on DiMarchi's research.

DiMarchi will share some of his newest research in the 2011 Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture. The lecture takes place in the Grand Hall of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13. The public is welcome.

The title of DiMarchi's lecture is "Miraculous Molecules." The DiMarchi lab at IU Bloomington has been exploring three peptide hormones involved in maintaining glucose levels. As a result of these explorations, DiMarchi says, "we have identified a set of novel peptides that exhibit high potency and balanced activity across three receptors."

Laboratory observations of the effectiveness of the synthetic peptide hormones in normalizing body weight and lowering glucose "establish a basis for testing of these novel gut hormones in human subjects," he adds.

A co-inventor on more than 100 patents, DiMarchi received the prestigious Merrifield Award for career excellence in peptide sciences from the American Peptide Society in early 2011.

The Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture series is co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and the Office of the Provost at IU Bloomington. Begun in 1980, the lecture event recognizes the research achievements of an IU Bloomington faculty member and is accompanied by a $3,000 award to support the distinguished lecturer's continuing research. Past DFRL awardees include Elinor Ostrom, Peter Bondanella, Ellen Ketterson and Dror Wahrman.

For more information on the DFRL, visit For more information on Richard DiMarchi, see