Awards for new diabetes research

If their mothers are obese or have diabetes, developing babies can be exposed to excess nutrients before birth. This can have consequences for the child's ability to control blood glucose.
Photo by Justyna Furmanczyk.

If their mothers are obese or have diabetes, developing babies can be exposed to excess nutrients before birth. This can have consequences for the child's ability to control blood glucose.
Photo by Justyna Furmanczyk.

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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Five University of Adelaide researchers have won funding for new research projects that aim to make a difference in the fight against one of Australia's biggest health problems: diabetes.

The University is tonight hosting the annual Diabetes Australia Research Trust (DART) Awards at the National Wine Centre, Adelaide.

The 2012 DART awards will see more than $2.8 million in diabetes research grants presented to academics from across Australia. University of Adelaide researchers have won five of these grants, totalling more than $362,000.

The winning research projects will delve into critical issues relating to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, with the outcomes of this work potentially affecting millions of Australians who suffer from diabetes or pre-diabetes:

  • Professor Julie Owens
    (Robinson Institute and Head, School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health)
    Winner of the Underworks Millennium Type 2 Award for: Identifying epigenetic pathways from maternal obesity to type 2 diabetes in offspring.

    If their mothers are obese or have diabetes, developing babies can be exposed to excess nutrients before birth. This project aims to discover how the babies' DNA blueprint can change under these conditions, and what consequences such DNA changes can have for the child's ability to control blood glucose.

  • Professor Jennifer Couper
    (Head of the Discipline of Paediatrics; and the Children's Research Centre)
    Winner of a grant for: Does Metformin improve vascular health in overweight youth with type 1 diabetes?

    Cardiovascular disease is the most common serious health complication in people with type 1 diabetes. Metformin is a medication that substantially improves blood vessel health in people with type 2 diabetes; however, there have been no studies of Metformin's benefits on blood vessels in people with type 1 diabetes.

  • Associate Professor Leonie Heilbronn
    (Research Leader, University of Adelaide's Robinson Institute)
    Winner of a grant for: Does hyperbaric oxygen therapy modulate insulin resistance?

    Preliminary data shows that hyperbaric oxygen therapy rapidly increases insulin sensitivity. In a world first, this study will quantify the effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on insulin sensitivity in a non-patient population of obese people with and without type 2 diabetes, as well as in lean, age-matched, healthy people.

  • Dr Yeesim Khew-Goodall
    (Affiliate Senior Lecturer, School of Molecular and Biomedical Science; and Centre for Cancer Biology, SA Pathology)
    Winner of a grant for: A novel regulator of insulin-stimulated glucose uptake.

    Research has recently identified a potential novel regulator for glucose uptake in response to insulin. By inhibiting the action of this molecule, it is possible to increase the glucose uptake potential of fat cells, thereby improving glucose clearance from the blood.

  • Dr Lisa Moran
    (Research Fellow, Robinson Institute and School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health)
    Winner of a grant for: Lifestyle interventions during pregnancy to reduce type 2 diabetes mellitus in overweight and obese women.

    Interventions during pregnancy that can modify a woman's risk (and that of her infant) of subsequently developing obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are of enormous significance as a public health initiative.


 

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