In 1994 I was diagnosed with celiac disease, which led me to create Celiac.com in 1995. I created this site for a single purpose: To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives. Celiac.com was the first site on the Internet dedicated solely to celiac disease. In 1998 I founded The Gluten-Free Mall, Your Special Diet Superstore!, and I am the co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.
Frits Koning received his Ph.D. from the University of Leiden and continued with postdoctoral studies at the NIH, Bethesda, USA where he identified γδ T cell receptors expressed by dendritic epidermal T cells. Back in Leiden he set up his own group within the LUMC and continued his research on the characterization and functionality of γδ T cell receptors in humans. Simultaneously he started to investigate the molecular basis for autoimmune diseases by determining the peptide-binding motifs specific for disease associated HLA-molecules. This work led to the identification of a peptide binding motif specific for HLA-DQ2 and subsequent work identified gluten peptides that could bind to the celiac disease associated HLA-DQ molecules and the realization that many of such peptides require modification by the enzyme tissue transglutaminase to facilitate high affinity binding to either HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 and the initiation of gluten-specific T cell responses. This provided a molecular explanation for the association between these HLA-DQ molecules and the development of celiac disease. Based on these results studies have been carried out to determine how gluten proteins can be detoxified and thus made suitable for consumption by celiac disease patients.
Presented annually by The William K. Warren Foundation, the $25,000 William K. Warren, Jr. Prize is awarded internationally to an individual or group who has made a significant contribution to the field of celiac disease research through basic, translational, or clinical research. Professor Koning will be presented with the award on Friday, June 3 at the University of California, San Diego, at which time he will present the 2011 Warren Prize Lecture, “Celiac Disease: How Complicated Can It Get?” Details can be found on the Center website, at http://celiaccenter.ucsd.edu.