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My interest in this field evolved naturally because of my training in biochemistry, human genetics and epidemiology, as well as my research regarding the epidemiology of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), which began in the early 1980’s. By the late 1980’s, studies from Massimo Trucco’s lab at our Diabetes Research Center led to the discovery of molecular markers of IDDM susceptibility (HLA-DQB1 alleles) associated with more than a 100-fold increase in risk. The magnitude of these disease associations were unparalleled. At the same time, our research center became a WHO Collaborating Center for Diabetes Registries, Research and Training (Ronald LaPorte and Janice Dorman, Co-Directors), coordinating the WHO Multinational Project for Childhood Diabetes, known as the DiaMond Project. The incidence registries established for DiaMond in countries around the world, the discovery of a strong molecular maker of IDDM susceptibility and my participation in these research efforts provided the perfect "natural setting" to embark on a career in molecular epidemiology.