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.

23 results found

Filters
Research Area
Region
Subject

Why does insulin resistance occur in Type 2 diabetes?

Project:
Northern & Yorkshire - Leeds
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
England
Northern & Yorkshire
Type 2
Causes
Project Summary

Insulin resistance is a key feature of Type 2 diabetes. It affects the ability of the body’s cells to take in glucose and causes high blood glucose levels.

Professor Bryant will explore whether proteins involved in this process don’t work properly in people with Type 2 diabetes. This research could improve our understanding of what causes Type 2 diabetes and how to treat it.

Sleep disturbances and Type 2 diabetes

Project:
Northern & Yorkshire - Manchester
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Type 2
England - Northern & Yorkshire
Northern & Yorkshire
Causes
Project Summary

Dr Martin Rutter plans to work out if sleep problems can help to predict who’s at risk of Type 2 diabetes. He’ll also look at whether sleep patterns in people with Type 2 diabetes can affect their blood glucose control and risk of complications. This research could help to prevent some people developing Type 2 diabetes and improve the health of people living with the condition.

Not all fat’s the same: protecting against Type 2 diabetes

Project:
Northern & Yorkshire - Leeds
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Northern & Yorkshire
England
Type 2
Causes
Project Summary

Dr Roberts is focusing on fat cells, with different types responsible for storing and burning fat. He hopes to find specific signals from ‘good’ beige fat cells, to see if they can improve fat metabolism and protect the body from Type 2 diabetes.

If successful, this research could inform the development of new protective Type 2 diabetes treatments.

Investigating a potential cause of Type 1 diabetes

Project:
South West - Exeter
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Type 1
England
South West
Project Summary

It’s believed that one of the factors involved in the development of Type 1 diabetes could be a specific type of virus that infects pancreatic beta cells, causing the immune system to attack them. The aim of this project is to investigate key proteins that may be involved in the potential viral infection of beta cells.

The results will improve our understanding of the causes of Type 1 diabetes, ultimately informing future research into the prevention and treatment of the condition. 

Down to details of Type 1 immune attack

Project:
South West - Bristol
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
England
South West
Type 1
Causes
Project Summary

In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakenly attacks several different proteins in the pancreas. One of them is called ZnT8. It seems that people develop Type 1 diabetes at a slower rate if their immune system attacks ZnT8. Dr Gillespie would like to understand the biology behind this attack.

This project will help us understand Type 1 diabetes in more detail and may help researchers develop new therapies to stop the immune attack.

Using genetics to predict Type 1 diabetes

Project:
South West - Exeter
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
South West
Type 1
Causes
England
Project Summary

There is a time window of several years between the start of the Type 1 diabetes immune attack and the appearance of symptoms.

Dr Richard Oram has developed a ‘risk calculator’ that uses information from genes linked to Type 1 diabetes to potentially find those at risk of the condition. Now, they want to test the calculator using data from several large studies.

This could help to find people at high risk of Type 1 diabetes in the future, and provide vital knowledge to help create treatments to stop it.

Blocking immune cells that attack the pancreas in Type 1

Project:
Wales - Cardiff
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Type 1
Causes
Wales
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.

Stopping thymic B cells in Type 1 diabetes

Project:
Northern & Yorkshire - York
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Type 1
Causes
England - Northern & Yorkshire
Northern & Yorkshire
Project Summary

The thymus helps to destroy ‘bad’ immune cells that attack the body, but this doesn’t happen in people with Type 1 diabetes. Dr Allison Green will find out why and how the thymus stops working properly in people with Type 1 diabetes, which could lead to treatments to prevent the condition.

Keeping mitochondria healthy to prevent Type 2

Project:
Scotland - Dundee
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Type 2
Scotland
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 not available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Scotland
Type 2
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.

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