Prof. Valdis Pirags, MD
Director of the International Institute for Indic Studies and Professor of Medicine at the University of Latvia
Currently he is heading the project on creation of web-based explanatory Sanskrit terminology dictionary on Ayurveda and Yoga funded by the University of Latvia.
Simultaneously he is the Head of the large Clinic of Internal Medicine at the Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital in Riga, Latvia. Head of the Research Consortium on Main Diseases Affecting the Life Quality and Life Expectancy of the Latvian Population in 2006-2009, and the Latvian National Research Programme in Biomedicine and Public Health (2009-2018). He is the past President of the Latvian Association of Endocrinology (1999-2008) and past president of the Baltic Atherosclerosis Society (2004-2006), one of the founders and board member of the European Society of Endocrinology (2006-2009). Full member of the Latvian Academy of Science.
Prof. Pirags graduated the Medical Academy of Latvia in 1990 and received his Dr. med. magna cum laude from the Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany in 1995, where he became interested in molecular pathogenesis and genetics of multifactorial diseases. On his return to Latvia in 1996, he continued his work on effects of hyperglycemia on cellular signaling pathways and genetics of type 2 diabetes mellitus. He was recipient of the Karl Oberdisse award for the best first author publication in 1996 and the Distinguished Research Award from the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) in 2003. More recently, he has also been working on epidemiology of diabetes mellitus in Latvia and creation of the Genome Database of the Latvian Population. In 2012 he received the Pauls Stradins Award of the Latvian Academy of Science.
Dr. Pirags has authored or coauthored more than 200 original scientific articles, book chapters, and abstracts in Latvian and international journals. He is serving as a peer reviewer or member of the Editorial Board of several international medical journals. He organized several Postgraduate Courses in Clinical Endocrinology of the European Federation of Endocrine Societies (EFES) and the European Society of Endocrinology (ESE) in across Europe since 2003.
Professor Pirags served as an independent expert for the evaluation of the 6th and 7th Framework Program projects at the European Commission, a member of the Working Party on Research on Stored Human Biological Materials at the Steering Committee on Bioethics (CDBI-CO-GT2biomat) at the Council of Europe, member of the Forum of Research Managers in the Field of Genome Research at the European Commission, and member of the Executive Committee of ScanBalt BioRegion. He was member of the Executive Committee of the European Society of Endocrinology and Council member of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) for 2006-2009.
He created one of the leading clinical research centres in the Central and Eastern Europe and served a member of International Steering Committees of several large multicenter clinical trials on diabetes including PROactive, DREAM, ORIGIN, DIRECT, TIDE, TECOS, REWIND, EXSCEL and others. His current interests are focused of designing of pharmacogenetic trials on personalized treatment of multifactorial diseases, mainly type 2 diabetes mellitus. He was participating at the conference on "A World-Wide Challenge - Towards a global initiative on gene-environment interactions in diabetes/obesity in specific populations" organized by the Research & Innovation DG of the European Commission in Brussels. He was an invited expert to the WHO Working Group Meetings on benchmarks for practice documents of Ayurveda, Unani and Panchakarma in Jaipur (September, 2018) and Jamnagar (November, 2019).