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My work aims to ease the burden of diabetes-related ill health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by understanding and addressing nutrition and physical activity risk factors, environmental contributors and workforce capacity.
The Charles Perkins Centre provides a rich environment of opportunity -- a talented and diverse collection of inspiring academics ready to work together and to challenge status quo.
To understand the substantial changes to the dietary intake and physical activity participation of Australia’s first peoples since colonisation, and to develop community-driven programs (research and education) to address these changes.
We provide data and informed advice based on research regarding good nutrition, its production and delivery and the interrelationships between male and female farmers, gatherers, traders, agricultural, environmental and public health regulators, consumers and policy-makers in Australia and other countries to support policies for ecologically sustainable food systems that deliver, safe, ethical, feasible and healthy diets. Our research has contributed to improved evidence-based interdisciplinary research, policy environments and better practices and actions in line with our vision.
Our vision is to develop novel strategies to understand how multiple parameters like genes, the environment and early life exposure influence long-term health in a combinatorial and individualistic manner. From this will emerge a brand new way of delivering health care to populations that not only transform health, but also all of the relevant industries, such as food technology, data science and security.
The highlights of my job are the challenges. These are varied and numerous: working with really bright and motivated individuals; recruiting new groups to the CPC to fulfill its mission; launching brand new initiatives that facilitate interdisciplinary projects; working with the wider university community.
Taking a leaf out of Noah’s book I would take 3 of everything.
Our group’s major research interest is to understand the molecular mechanisms that are relevant to the formation, storage and secretion of insulin secretory granules in pancreatic beta-cells and the mechanisms of islet β-cell failure in these processes in the pathogenesis of obesity-associated type 2 diabetes. Our area of expertise include cell biology, animal physiology, mouse genetics, immunofluorescence microscopy, metabolic studies in mice, isolation of islets from the mouse and in vitro analysis of insulin secretion.
The highlight of my role is the simple fact that I LOVE what I do.
The several diabetic patients who I met through some of my community works inspire me. Their occasional emails and/or calls with questions and encouragements are my constant source of inspiration to continue waging war on diabetes. They remind me of the real-world impact of what we do in the lab and here at CPC.
Our group applies the philosophy of science to contemporary biological and biomedical research. We add value by removing conceptual and methodological roadblocks to the advancement of science and by using high-level biological theory, particularly an evolutionary perspective, to promote a more integrative approach to research questions.
The highlight is the chance to work with brilliant young researchers, and the main challenge is keeping those brilliant minds supported so that they can continue to develop into tomorrow’s research leaders.
Among the issues I currently work on are: how to measure the relative importance of genetic, epigenetic and environmental causes; to what extent the traditional concept of an organism, and therefore of health, needs to be revised; and how laypersons’ ideas about genetic causation affect the reception of genetic research.
Playwright Alana Valentine and writer Mireille Juchau will each receive $100,000 and spend a year based at the centre, alongside clinicians and researchers looking to ease the burden of obesity and chronic disease.