Our research projects

We fund world class research

At any one time, we have around 120 research projects making discoveries across the UK. Each of these projects is only possible thanks to the generous support of our members, donors and local groups

Every project is reviewed by experts and approved by our research committee and our panel of people living with diabetes. So you're supporting research of the highest scientific quality, led by researchers with the skills and experience to succeed.

Your support of our research projects means we can keep tackling the complications of diabetes and bring us one step closer to a cure.

Find a research project

Use the search tool to discover research taking place in your local area, or choose a subject or type of diabetes you’re interested in.

Each project page showcases the details of the research, and if you find a research project you could really get behind, you can support it in lots of different ways.

111 results found

Earlier detection of diabetic retinopathy using non-invasive imaging

Project:
Northern Ireland - Belfast
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Complications
Innovation
Project Summary

Dr Ruth Hogg and her team will develop new software to assess high resolution images of the blood vessels in the retina, produced using a new non-invasive imaging method called OCT-A.

The study will increase our understanding of the earlier stages of diabetic retinopathy and how blood vessels in the retina change, allowing for earlier diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy. 

Keeping mitochondria healthy to prevent Type 2

Project:
Scotland - Dundee
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Prevention
Project Summary

High levels of fat can cause mitochondria (important structures inside our cells that burn fuel) to become stressed and break down. This is linked to inflammation and insulin resistance: two important features of Type 2 diabetes.

Professor Hundal wants to know if, and how, unsaturated fats or metformin might protect the mitochondria and keep insulin resistance at bay. In the future, this could help to prevent Type 2 diabetes from developing.

Keeping kidney cells talking

Project:
Midlands - Lincoln
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Complications
Project Summary

Dr Hills wants to understand why kidney cells can’t function properly in people with diabetes. She’ll be looking at how high glucose levels, combined with a specific stress molecule, change the behaviour of kidney cells. This study could help to identify new drugs to prevent or treat kidney disease in the future.

Taking account of ACC1 in beta cells

Project:
South East - Oxford
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Innovation
Project Summary

Dr Cantley will use state-of-the-art techniques in molecular and cell biology to study the mechanisms by which ACC1, a critically important enzyme, influences the size and number of beta cells. His work will improve knowledge of beta cells and how they might be targeted with new therapies.

Why is exercise good for people with Type 2 diabetes?

Project:
Birmingham, Midlands
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Healthcare
Innovation
Project Summary

We know that exercise is good for people with Type 2 diabetes, but Dr Barlow would like to understand the relationship between the two better. He’ll look at the direct effects of muscle contraction on insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, to find out exactly why exercise is beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes and how this could be maximised in the future.

Helping the immune system tackle Type 1 diabetes

Project:
London
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Towards a cure
Prevention
Project Summary

Immune cells called Tregs police the immune system and stop it from attacking healthy cells. But in Type 1 diabetes, this goes wrong. Professor Federica Marelli-Berg has found a drug that helps Tregs work better. She’ll test this drug to see if it can prevent or slow the progression of Type 1 diabetes. In the future, this could lead to life-changing new treatments for people with or at risk of the condition.

STAT6 and beta cells in Type 1

Project:
South West - Exeter
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Project Summary

Professor Noel Morgan and his colleagues will study the role of protein STAT6 in beta cell health and survival and investigate the possibility that loss of this protein may contribute to beta cell death in Type 1 diabetes.

Benefits of exercise for Type 2 diabetes

Project:
Midlands - Nottingham
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Innovation
Healthcare
Project Summary

Exercise is known to provide health benefits for people living with Type 2 diabetes and reduce the risk of developing Type 2. But we don’t yet understand why.

Dr Daniel Wilkinson hopes to understand what’s going on inside the body during exercise and why it has positive effects on our health. In the long term, this could help to develop new drugs which also provide these benefits for people with Type 2 diabetes. 

The role of dietary fat in insulin resistance

Project:
Scotland - Dundee
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Project Summary

Increased levels of a molecule called DAG (found in dietary fat) has been shown to cause insulin resistance in muscle cells, by disrupting important signals. Increased dietary fat also appears to reduce the number of cave-like structures (formed by proteins called caveolins) on the surface of cells.

The aim of this project is to investigate the connection between the cave-like structures, DAG and insulin resistance. This will improve our understanding of how insulin resistance happens in people with Type 2 diabetes, and could inform future strategies for managing and treating the condition.

Are Type 2 drugs safe and effective for Type 1?

Project:
Leicester - Midlands
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Healthcare
Project Summary

Drugs commonly used to treat Type 2 diabetes - called gliflozins - may also be beneficial for people with Type 1 diabetes. Professor Melanie Davies will find out if these drugs are safe to use, and can help to control blood glucose levels, in people with Type 1. This could offer a new way to help people with Type 1 diabetes improve their blood glucose control. 

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