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Our research projects

With more lives to change than ever, we can't stop now.

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.

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

We fund world class research

Our research studies are reviewed by experts and approved by the Diabetes UK 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 necessary to succeed.

Find a research project

You can use the box below to search for projects by the type of research involved or the region or research centre where they are taking place.

We invite you to read about the studies that interest you and to consider supporting them through our Adopt a Project scheme. Each project page includes details on whether a project is available to adopt and how long it has left to run. A showcase of all our research projects is also available to download.

12 results found

Ancient medicine to treat infected foot ulcers

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

Infections in foot ulcers can be hard to treat and don’t always respond to antibiotics. If this happens, they can result in amputations or sepsis.

Dr Freya Harrison wants to find new types of antibiotics that could be used to effectively treat infections in foot ulcers. In the future, this could improve the quality of people with diabetes’ lives and reduce the number of amputations.

Imaging insulin release in the pancreas

Project:
Midlands
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Project Summary

RD Lawrence Fellow Professor David Hodson will use advanced imaging techniques to study the way that beta cells of the pancreas work together to produce insulin.

The new insight this provides could potentially lead to new ways of increasing beta cell function in Type 2 diabetes.

Benefits of exercise for Type 2 diabetes

Project:
Midlands - Nottingham
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
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. 

Keeping kidney cells talking

Project:
Midlands - Lincoln
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
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.

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.

Small molecules to stop the immune attack

Project:
Midlands - Birmingham
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Towards a cure
Project Summary

In Type 1 diabetes, immune cells called T cells attack and destroy insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. T cells recognise five specific molecules on beta cells, and Dr Parth Narendran wants to identify the exact regions of the molecules involved. This could help scientists to develop more accurate diagnosis tools, and find ways to prevent Type 1 or stop it progressing. 

Trading ‘bad’ fats for ‘good’ fats in Type 2

Project:
Midlands - Warwick
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Project Summary

Professor Zammit and his team aim to find out if enzymes that produce fat in the muscle determine whether it is 'good' fat (seen in athletes) or 'bad' fat (seen in many people with Type 2 diabetes). They will also see if altering the route by which muscle fat is produced might help to prevent or reduce insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.

Finding new ways to stop diabetes-related kidney damage

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

Many people with diabetes experience nephropathy – a condition that is the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease. We know that high levels of glucose can damage kidney cells, and Professor Squires hopes to find ways to stop or prevent this damage from happening. These could be developed into treatments for diabetes-related nephropathy in the future.

Can stress hormones protect beta cells?

Project:
Midlands - Birmingham
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Innovation
Project Summary

Professor David Hodson would like to understand how stress hormones, called glucocorticoids, affect insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Understanding how these stress hormones might be linked to Type 2 diabetes might uncover new ways to treat the condition in the future.

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