2009 INDUCTEE Mladen Vranic, MD DSc Diabetes, Patient Care


April 3, 1930

(Zagreb, Croatia)


June 18, 2019


MD, University of Zagreb (1955)

DSc, University of Zagreb (1962)

Awards & Honours:

2013: Honorary DSC, McMaster University

2011: Honorary DSc, University of Toronto

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Picture of Mladen Vranic

Revealed hypertriglyceridemia to be part of insulin resistance and championed the total body concept of diabetes treatment

Portrait of Mladin Vranic

A pioneer in diabetes research and treatment

In 1963, Dr. Mladen Vranic was invited to come to Canada by Dr. Charles H. Best, the co-discover of insulin, to be his final post-doctoral fellow. This sojourn marked the beginning of Dr. Vranic’s remarkable career as a leading advocate for the advancement of diabetes research, and teacher of innumerable renowned scientists and academic leaders. The first of Dr. Vranic’s major scientific contributions was the development of a precise tracer method that in combination with glucose clamps, measures precisely steady and non-steady state glucose turnover. Using this technique, he participated in the first clinical studies in insulin resistance and hypertriglyceridemia. From here, his brilliant career would lead to many more important contributions to medical science.

Key Facts

Pioneered physiological and molecular mechanisms whereby exercise improves, or prevents onset of, type 2 diabetes

Demonstrated a new mechanism whereby the muscle is protected against hyperglycemia and, therefore, against diabetic complications

Revolutionized the field by changing prevailing views that a given hormone is synthesized only in a specific gland

Outlined the mechanisms of decreased counterregulation of hypoglycemia on the level of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and pancreas

Demonstrated that intermitted neurological stress prevents onset of diabetes similarly to exercise and provided the mechanism for this effect in the brain and pancreas

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Dr. Vranic’s impact on the field of diabetes has revolutionized physiological understanding of the condition not only in Canada but around the world. Moreover, his discovery of the impact of exercise on the management of diabetes translated bench research to bedside care in ways that continue to impact countless lives. To take but one example, Dr. Vranic’s work has led to more precise measurements of blood sugar levels, which has made it possible for people with diabetes to participate in a greater variety of physical activity, including the Olympics. Additionally, his tireless commitment to exploring glucose regulation creates new pathways towards methods to treat potential complications in insulin treatment for type 1 diabetes.

Picture of Mladen Vranic


  • Framed portrait of Mladen Vranic  resting on table easel.

    Mladen Vranic inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    Montreal, Quebec

  • Dr. Vranic received an honorary degree from the Karolinska Institute Medical Faculty in Stockholm

    Upon receiving the degree, he became one of only three Canadians to have received this honour.

  • Dr. Mladen Vranic organized the first symposium on Exercise and Diabetes sponsored by the Kroc Foundation

    Diabetes, Diabetes

    This meeting served as the catalyst for many more symposiums over the next three decades.

  • Dr. Mladen Vranic presented his discovery of extra-pancreatic glucagon at the Conference of Glucagon held at Santa Ynez ranch in California


    This finding revolutionized the field by changing prevailing views that a given hormone is synthesized only in a specific gland. This perspective provided additional evidence regarding the importance of glucagon in pathogenesis of diabetes.

  • Dr. Vranic served as a leader in both Canadian and international settings

    In 1972, he became chair and organizer of the Tracer Methodology Study Group for the American Societies of Experimental Biology.

  • Dr. Vranic became full professor of Physiology and Medicine at the University of Toronto

    Later, he served as the Department’s chair from 1991-1995.

  • Dr. Charles Best, one of the co-discoverers of Insulin, invited Dr. Vranic to Toronto

    He became Dr. Best’s last post-doctoral fellow.


I’ve never given up.