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Researchers win grants to combat diabetes epidemic

16 February 2017
Diabetes Australia rewards Sydney University research excellence

University of Sydney researchers have won over $800,000 in grants from Diabetes Australia to improve the understanding, detection and treatment of diabetes. 

Our leading scholars won 14 of 50 awarded grants representing nearly one quarter of the $3.4 million in grants made nationwide.

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research, Professor Duncan Ivison says the grants are further recognition of the high quality research being done at the University.

“The grants from Diabetes Australia are representative of the outstanding and vitally important research being carried out at the University of Sydney,” says Professor Ivison.

Diabetes is an increasing issue in our society and we want to contribute to both the prevention and treatment of this disease.
Professor Duncan Ivison, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Diabetes Australia CEO, Professor Greg Johnson, singled out the research of Professor Stephen Twigg for praise: Professor Twig is investigating the impact of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) Type 1 diabetes:

“This could be the first study showing how HIIT exercise can improve control of blood glucose levels in people with Type 1 diabetes without increasing the risk of serious complications like hypoglycemia,” says Associate Professor Johnson.

“Professor Twigg is hopeful that the research may also show HIIT exercise can improve cardiovascular risk factors and help people lower their risk of diabetes-related complications including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and heart disease.”

On average, 280 people are diagnosed with diabetes each day, making it the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia.

Diabetes is a disease affecting a range of body systems due to the inability to maintain healthy levels of glucose in the blood. Serious long-term complications can include heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney failure, foot ulcers, and blindness arising from diabetic retinopathy.

It is the leading cause of preventable blindness in Australia and is responsible for some 4,400 amputations each year.

Over 1.7 million Australians live with diabetes, costing the country an estimated $14.6 billion annually.

University of Sydney’s grant winners and their projects

Professor Stephen Twigg: Effects of high-intensity interval training on glycaemic control and diabetes complications in adults with type 1 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome: a randomised controlled trial with partial cross-over.

Dr Jibran Wali: Determining the macronutrient composition of the optimum diet for the management of type 2 diabetes.

Professor Carol Pollock: Predicting the future risk of chronic kidney disease in offspring of obese mothers with and without type 2 diabetes.

Dr Amanda Brandon: Can enhancing futile cycles combat obesity related insulin resistance?

Dr James Burchfield: GLUT4 trafficking and insulin resistance.

Associate Professor Corinne Caillaud: I-engage: A multicomponent intervention using human-centred technology to enhance knowledge and skills in self-monitoring physical activity and food choices in adolescents.

Dr Camilla Hoyos: Brain oxidative stress and cognitive function in older adults with diabetes and pre-diabetes who are ‘at risk’ for dementia.

Dr Mugdha Joglekar: Understanding mechanisms of immune-regulation by human islet-derived progenitor cells.

Dr Melkam Kebede: Investigating the interplay between Sorcs1 and Sortilin in the regulation of insulin degradation in pancreatic beta-cells.

Dr Gerald Liew: Using New Retinal Imaging Technologies to improve classification and treatment of diabetic retinopathy.

Dr Yorgi Mavros: PRT MEDIC: Progressive resistance training for metabolic syndrome and depression integrated care: A Randomised Controlled Trial.

Dr Craig Phillips: Treating sleep apnoea after weight loss to maintain cardio-metabolic health in the obese with pre-diabetes – A Randomised Controlled Trial.

Professor Peter Thorn: Enhancing insulin secretion from stem cells.

Professor Jenny Gunton: In vivo beta-cell regulation using TRAP (translating ribosome affinity purification).

Elliott Richardson

Assistant Media Advisor (Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy