Dr. Valdis Pirags, MD is Professor of Medicine at the University of Latvia and the Head of the Clinic of Internal Medicine at the Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital in Riga, Latvia. He graduated the Medical Academy of Latvia (now: Stradiņš University of Riga) in 1990 and was awarded his PhD (Dr. med. magna cum laude) from the Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany in 1995. He first became interested in genetics of multifactorial diseases while undertaking studies on molecular pathogenesis of late diabetic complications under supervision of Professor A.F.H. Pfeiffer. On his return to Latvia in 1996, he continued his work on molecular medicine and genetics of endocrine diseases at the Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital. These studies embrace the 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.
Dr. Pirags has authored or coauthored more than 150 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. His is the director of the Latvian National Research Programme on Clinical Medicine and Public Health since 2009.
On top of it he is an active Freemason since 1993, was Worshipful Master (WM) of the Latvian lodge “Bonfire Lit on Midsummer Eve” (“Jāņuguns”) in 1996-2002, WM of the lodge “Stella Polaris” (“Ziemeļzvaigzne”) in 2002-2003, Grand Master (GM) of the Grand Lodge of Latvia in 2003-2009, Deputy Grand Master (GM) of the Grand Lodge of Latvia in 2009-2012. Inspector General (330) of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Latvia and member of the Royal Arch Chapter in Tallinn, Estonia. Published research article on the Origins of the Freemasonry Movement in Latvia and delivered dozens of public lectures and interviews on Freemasonry. Lecturer at the Pythagoras School of the Grand Lodge of Latvia.