Grants for leading diabetes researchers announced

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Tonight Diabetes Australia and Diabetes NSW & ACT are hosting an awards evening at NSW Parliament House, to recognise researchers making an outstanding contribution to the prevention, management and cure for all types of diabetes.

The awards are given under the Diabetes Australia Research Program which not only recognise outstanding research, but also seek to foster young and upcoming researchers in the field of diabetes.

Among the studies being recognised are two which are trying to unlock new treatment options for people living with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Preserving the ability of these cells to produce insulin or transplanting healthy cells could unlock exciting new treatment options for people living with the condition, but researchers still need to overcome a number of challenges before this approach is viable.

The two studies focused in this area are being conducted by Professor Kerry-Anne Rye, at the University of New South Wales, who is looking into preserving the function of insulin producing beta-cells. The other is being lead by Dr Natasha Rogers, from the Westmead Institute for Medical Research, who is trying to improve the success of islet cell transplants, a process where healthy islet cells are transplanted into the pancreases of people with diabetes.

Professor Greg Johnson, CEO of Diabetes Australia said: “We are committed to supporting Australia’s diabetes researchers. A cure for type 1 diabetes remains our goal. Every year we fill in different pieces of the puzzle and the research conducted by Professor Rye and Dr Rogers could play an important part.”

“Diabetes is complex and multi-faceted, and research can improve the lives of people living with diabetes in a range of ways. That is why Diabetes Australia provides funding to support many of Australia’s leading diabetes researchers. It is a puzzle and hopefully the studies we are funding fill in some of the missing pieces,” he said.

Funding is also being granted to research into new treatments for people living with type 2 diabetes. these studies are looking at ways of improving self-management of diabetes, insulin resistance, new treatments to help heal diabetic wounds, ways of preventing birth complications associated with gestational diabetes and new therapies for diabetes-related kidney disease.

In total 12 research projects being conducted at leading New South Wales’ research institutes including the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney and the Westmead Institute for Medical Research are receiving funding.

Diabetes NSW and ACT CEO, Sturt Eastwood welcomed the funding.

“In the last century diabetes research has changed the way people live with and think about diabetes and I’m excited to see what the future holds. We will continue to fundraise and invest in diabetes research until we find a cure,” said Mr Eastwood.

Research projects receiving grants

Researcher Institute Project Tile
Professor Trevor Biden Garvan Institute of Medical Research A novel macrophage-derived mediator of beta cell dysfunction
Associate Professor Ross Laybutt Garvan Institute of Medical Research The protein folding isomerase FKBP11 protects against type 2 diabetes
Associate Professor Carsten Schmitz-Peiffer Garvan Institute of Medical Research Using Biosensors To Determine the Role of PKCe in Adipose Tissue
Dr Yanchuan Shi Garvan Institute of Medical Research Investigation of the Role of Adipocyte-specific Y1 Receptors in Controlling the Browning of White Adipose Tissue in Diet-induced Obesity
Associate Professor Megan Lord University of New South Wales Bioengineered growth factor binding scaffolds for improved diabetic wound healing
Professor Kerry-Anne Rye University of New South Wales Generation of Pancreatic Beta-cells in Type 1 Diabetes
Dr Carissa Bonner University of Sydney Addressing inequalities in diabetes self-management with a health-literate action plan
Dr James Krycer University of Sydney Identifying molecular mechanisms of impaired glucose transport in insulin resistance
Professor Jenny Gunton University of Sydney Browning human fat to treat obesity and diabetes
Associate Professor Samantha Hocking University of Sydney Optimal timing of delivery of pregnancies complicated by gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and maternal and perinatal outcomes
Dr Chunling Huang University of Sydney A novel therapeutic target for diabetic nephropathy
Dr Natasha Rogers Westmead Institute for Medical Research Thrombospondin-1 and CD47 regulate islet injury and transplant failure


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