Our Research Funding 

Our annual funding round is designed to support bright young researchers, as well as established institutions, as they strive to make the kind of life-changing breakthrough our diabetes community is hoping for. 

Our first research award was made in 1999 for a small equipment grant and since that time, we have committed more than £12 million to diabetes research in the UK and as part of the International Diabetes Wellness Network, around the world.

To read more about our research strategy, click here

Our Funded Research 

2021   2020   2019   2018   2017   2016   2015   2014   2013   2012   2011   
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2021

Sutherland Earl Vector Award icon image.
Sutherland-Earl Clinical Fellowship

DILIGENT: Use of Diabetes technology on bIrthweight, Labour, Inpatient and postpartum Glycaemia of pregnant women with Type 1 diabetes

Recipient: Dr Tara Lee
Institution: University of East Anglia
City: Norwich
Amount: £237,007
Description - click to read

Despite increased use of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and insulin pumps, most pregnant women with type 1 diabetes struggle to manage their glucose levels in pregnancy. Many deliver large birthweight babies and experience additional challenges managing their diabetes during hospital admissions and after birth. My project will examine how the mother's glucose levels and insulin therapy relate to baby’s growth patterns and birthweight. It will also examine which diabetes technologies help pregnant women to achieve their glucose targets during hospital admissions and after birth. I will perform three studies: firstly, focusing on understanding baby’s growth patterns, secondly on examining mother’s glucose levels during hospital admissions, labour and delivery, and thirdly, during the six months after birth. My project addresses three top priority diabetes pregnancy research questions; (1) use of diabetes technology to improve pregnancy care; (2) women’s experiences and choices surrounding labour and delivery and (3) postnatal care and support.

2021

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Pump Priming 

Single cell isolations from pancreatic tissue for high-dimensional immune profiling

Recipient: Dr Joanne Boldison
Institution: University of Exeter
City: Exeter 
Amount: £19,989
Description - click here to read

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune-system attacks a healthy pancreas. Cells of the immune-system, invade the pancreas and insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed, which results in a loss of blood glucose control. To develop targeted therapy for individuals affected by diabetes, we need to understand the immune cells that invade the pancreas. In humans, access to the pancreas is limited, however the QUOD Bank supports studies by providing tissue samples post-mortem. First, we will setup a new method to separate immune cells from tissue samples of human pancreas to study different cell types, then develop sophisticated analyses to evaluate our data, so we are not bias. To complement our approach, we will use the current method to study pancreatic immune cells from donors with diabetes. This funding will establish a new way, using state-of-the-art technology, to evaluate the invading pancreatic immune cells in more depth.

2021

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Pump Priming 

Interventional neurobiology to regulate hormone secretion: The critical role of galanin in pancreatic islet physiology

Recipient: Dr Yu Hsuan Carol Yang
Institution: University of Exeter
City: Exeter
Amount: £20,000
Description - click here to read

Since its discovery, the role of neurons in pancreas biology remains controversial. This is in part due to the lack of tools required for directly controlling pancreatic nerves and assessing the effects in living animals. Zebrafish studies are translatable to human development and disease given the high conservation of organs and physiology. I have established assays necessary for live zebrafish analysis of pancreas neurobiology and plan to implement these tools by targeting neurons that produce the galanin neuropeptide. The pancreatic islets are important for producing the hormones that help regulate blood glucose levels. Following the increase or decrease in galanin signals, we will visualize the effects on pancreatic islet formation and activity. The tools developed from these studies will be used to help us understand neural control of pancreas biology (including the regulation of hormone release) under normal and diseased states.

2021

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Pump Priming 

Exploring the Long-term health Outcomes following a PrEgnancy with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (ELOPEGDM)

Recipient: Dr Nerys Astbury
Institution: Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences
City: Oxford 
Amount: £19,985
Description - click here to read

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that affects pregnant women. It usually goes away after birth. Getting GDM increases the risk of problems during pregnancy and birth. There is also evidence that women who develop GDM are at much higher risk of developing conditions like type 2 diabetes. But the effect of getting GDM on other conditions as well as on the health of the baby has not been widely investigated. Using one of the UK’s largest databases of routine healthcare records we will measure the effect getting GDM has on health and disease risks in mothers and their babies. Insight into the full effects that GDM has on women and their babies will provide a boost to research efforts for the early detection, prevention and treatment of GDM.

2021

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Pump Priming 

A novel and sex-specific role for LEAP2 in the regulation of pancreatic islet function

Recipient: Dr Astrid Hauge-Evans
Institution: University of Roehampton
City: Roehampton 
Amount: £20,000
Description - click here to read

Both obesity and increased blood sugar are important factors in the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D). They are controlled by hormones such as insulin and ghrelin. Ghrelin stimulates food intake, promotes weight gain and inhibits insulin secretion from islets in the pancreas, which in turn leads to higher blood sugar levels. Targeting ghrelin action may therefore be a way of preventing or treating obesity and/or T2D, but so far no useful pharmaceutical blockers of ghrelin have been discovered.

Importantly, a new protein from the liver and small intestine has now been found to counteract the effects of ghrelin. Our initial experiments suggest that this small protein, Liver-Enriched Antimicrobial Peptide-2 (LEAP2), stimulates insulin secretion. Interestingly, this action differs between males and females. Our study will investigate the role of LEAP2 in regulating blood sugar levels, focusing on sex-specific differences and the way this peptide affects pancreatic islet function.

 

2021

Pump Priming Award Icon Image
Pump Priming 

Functional significance of HIF1a activated dorsal horn sensory neurons in the manifestation of type 2 diabetic neuropathic pain 1

Recipient: Dr Richard Hulse
Institution: Nottingham Trent University
City: Nottingham 
Amount: £19,760
Description - click here to read

We have shown that in type 1 and 2 diabetes, if the spinal cord sensory neurons fail to receive blood, they become damaged and long-lasting pain develops. We think that pain develops in diabetes as reduced blood flow prevents oxygen getting to the spinal cord. Pain signals are generated in our hands and feet, travel along sensory nerves until they reach the spinal cord, where pain information is filtered. Spinal cord sensory neurons normally turn this signal down or off. In diabetes these neurons lose their ability to turn pain signals off, resulting in people with diabetes feeling pain. It is currently unknown why these neurons change their function.

HIF1α is found in neurons when there is reduced oxygen. A mouse model of Type 2 diabetes will be used and in these animals I will stop them producing HIF1α in the neurons, to prevent diabetic neuropathic pain from developing.

2021

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Pump Priming 

REBEL – CV study: Does Residual β -cELL function and exercise offer synergistic protection against hyperglycaemic induced Circulating Vasoprotective dysfunction in type 1 diabetes?

Recipient: Dr Guy Taylor
Institution: Newcastle University
City: Newcastle 
Amount: £19,962 
Description - click here to read

For people with T1D, exercise is beneficial, potentially reducing the progression of diabetes-related complications. Many people (up to 80%) with T1D still release small amounts of insulin together with C-peptide, a molecule involved in the creation of insulin, from the pancreas. This may also help protect against diabetes complications, although exactly how is currently unknown. One possible way is through endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), which circulate in the blood and repair blood vessels; with T1D associated with having lower numbers of these important cells. We have recently discovered that individuals who no longer produce any insulin/C-peptide are not able to increase the number of EPCs after exercise, compared to those who still produce insulin/C-peptide from the pancreas. We propose exploring how having some ability to still make insulin/C-peptide may influence how well EPCs work in normal and high blood glucose conditions, and whether this works in combination with exercise.

2021   2020   2019   2018   2017   2016   2015   2014   2013   2012   2011   
2010    2009   2008   2007   2006   2005   2004   2003   2002   2001   2000   1999

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