Diabetes UK has dedicated £828,000 to eight new research projects looking to understand the causes of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and protect against their complications.
The new projects include six PhD Studentships and two Allied Health Professional (AHP) Fellowships, which have been awarded to universities across the UK, from Southampton to Glasgow.
The AHP Fellowship is a newly launched scheme to support research-minded allied health professionals, such as podiatrists and dietitians, in gaining a PhD in diabetes research. The award will allow fellows to draw on their valuable experiences of clinical practice to carry out research that will make a real difference to the care and treatment of people with diabetes.
Newly appointed AHP Fellow Nicola Guess will be based at Imperial College London, where she will test the effectiveness of a specific carbohydrate in preventing Type 2 diabetes, and at the University of Southampton Keith McCormick will evaluate the ability of fish oil to protect against the complications of diabetes.
Helping excellent diabetes research
"We are delighted to be supporting students and allied health professionals in the early stages of their research careers, and hope that this investment in research will not only answer important research questions in the present but also help to ensure that excellent diabetes research continues well into the future," said Dr Victoria King, Research Manager at Diabetes UK.
Some of the projects funded
An early education
Dr Ivor Vorechovsky of the University of Southampton; £70,500; three-year PhD Studentship.
Dr Ivor Vorechovsky’s PhD student aims to understand the complex cellular interactions involved in the onset of Type 1 diabetes. In time, this understanding could help in the design of treatments to help the immune system build a tolerance to insulin early on in life.
Type 2 treatment to help blood vessels?
Professor Angela Shore of Peninsula Medical School; £70,500; three-year PhD Studentship.
This Diabetes UK PhD Studentship will examine whether a group a hormones called incretins, which have been used as a blueprint for a type of diabetes drug because of their ability to increase insulin release from beta cells, can also improve blood vessel function.
A carbohydrate to lose weight and improve glucose control
Supervised by Professor Gary Frost of Imperial College London; £202,221; three-year Allied Health Professional Fellowship.
Professor Gary Frost will supervise dietitian Nicola Guess, who has been awarded a Diabetes UK Allied Health Professional Fellowship to investigate the potential of fermentable carbohydrates to help prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Can fish oil protect nerves and blood vessels?
Supervised by Professor Christopher Byrne of the University of Southampton; £197,112; three-year Allied Health Professional Fellowship.
With supervision from Professor Christopher Byrne, podiatrist and lecturer Keith McCormick will investigate whether purified fish oil medication, which is currently used for the treatment of raised fatty acids in the blood, can improve the function of nerves and small blood vessels in the feet of people with insulin resistance.