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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.

114 results found

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.

Earlier detection of diabetic retinopathy using non-invasive imaging

Project:
Northern Ireland - Belfast
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
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.

The role of dietary fat in insulin resistance

Project:
Scotland - Dundee
Status:
Project 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.

Taking account of ACC1 in beta cells

Project:
South East - Oxford
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
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.

Developing a Type 1 diabetes genetic risk score

Project:
South West - Exeter
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Innovation
Project Summary

Dr Michael Weedon and his colleagues are aiming to develop a simple genetic test that could predict the type of diabetes and the treatment required in young adults. They will combine this test with current methods for diagnosing diabetes, in order to produce a way to better classify diabetes. This could ensure that the correct treatment can be given very soon after people are recognised as having diabetes.

STAT6 and beta cells in Type 1

Project:
South West - Exeter
Status:
Project 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.

Blocking immune cells that attack the pancreas in Type 1

Project:
Wales - Cardiff
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Towards a cure
Project Summary

In Type 1 diabetes, immune cells called ‘B cells’ move into the pancreas and are involved in the destruction of insulin-producing cells. Professor Susan Wong wants to work out why they do this. Her team will study a protein found on B cells and look for differences between people with and without Type 1 diabetes. This could help us develop treatments that stop the immune attack and prevent this condition.

The DiRECT route to Type 2 remission?

Project:
Scotland (Glasgow), and Northern and Yorkshire (Newcastle)
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Project Summary

With support from our largest ever research grant, Professors Mike Lean and Roy Taylor will investigate if a low-calorie diet, alongside weight management support, can put Type 2 diabetes into remission for the long-term. 

Their vital work will find out if a low-calorie, diet-based treatment should be offered as a routine treatment for Type 2 diabetes. In the future, this could help to reduce the number of people living with Type 2 diabetes.

Get all the latest news on how the low-calorie diet research is going so far.

Improving diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes in later life

Project:
South West
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Healthcare
Project Summary

In people over the age of 50, diagnosing the type of diabetes can be more difficult. Dr Jones aims to find features and tests that are best able to help diagnose Type 1 diabetes in later life. This could reduce the number of people who are misdiagnosed and ensure people with diabetes avoid receiving inappropriate advice and treatment.

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