For Lori Klaman, the fight against diabetes is a personal one. The scientist's grandmother died from the disease, and her father suffered from it as well. That family history, coupled with her driving intellectual curiosity, is what keeps Klaman working long days and weekends to help discover new drugs.

Klaman, a principal research scientist in the metabolic diseases area of Wyeth's discovery research operation, got her PhD in immunology at Tufts University and went on to do postdoctoral training at Boston's Beth Israel Hospital. It was during her postdoc work that she made her first major breakthrough, producing a colony of mice that lacked a protein important for shutting off the body's response to insulin. The mice, which also had a higher metabolic rate than their wild-type counterparts, were ideal for use by diabetes researchers.

"It was pretty exciting, because pharmaceutical companies were interested in [using the mouse] to...

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