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Diabetes researcher awarded prestigious CBE

Professor Andrew Hattersley, a world-leading diabetes researcher at the University of Exeter Medical School, has been awarded a CBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

The award comes for his work in revolutionising the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes globally.

Professor Hattersley’s research

Professor Hattersley studies genes that cause rare forms of diabetes and combines this understanding with knowledge of clinical treatments and diagnosis, to make a real difference to the lives of people with these conditions.

With funding from Diabetes UK, Professor Hattersley and his colleague, Professor Sian Ellard, established a molecular genetics laboratory in Exeter in 1995.

Since then, Professor Hattersley’s team have grown into a world-famous research and diagnostic centre for monogenic forms of diabetes. They have identified subtypes of diabetes caused by changes in a single gene, and have influenced the way these conditions are now diagnosed and treated. 

In 2004, they discovered that a mutation in the Kir6.2 gene causes a rare form of diabetes in new-born babies. Thanks to this discovery, this condition is now treatable with tablets instead of insulin.

What is monogenic diabetes?

Monogenic diabetes is a rare condition, different from both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It’s caused by a mutation in a single gene. If a parent has this mutation, their children have a 50 percent chance of inheriting it.Since monogenic diabetes is so rare, people can often get misdiagnosed.

And in some cases of monogenic diabetes, the condition can be managed with specific tablets and doesn’t require insulin treatment. That’s why it’s incredibly important to understand rare forms of diabetes and diagnose them correctly.

Great honour

Professor Hattersley said:

“I’m delighted and humbled to receive such a prestigious award. This recognises the outstanding contributions of my talented colleagues here at Exeter both in the diabetes and molecular genetics department at the hospital and in the research departments of the University of Exeter Medical School.

"I feel privileged to work with such an excellent team, whose work has benefited tens of thousands of people worldwide.”

Kamini Shah, Acting Head of Research Funding at Diabetes UK, said:

“We send our warmest congratulations to Professor Hattersley and his team, who greatly deserves this honour. Professor Hattersley is an inspiring scientist who has not only made huge discoveries in the diabetes field, but is also dedicated to supporting the next generation of leading diabetes researchers.

"We thank him for his immense passion for driving research forward and improving the lives of people with diabetes.”

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