Published on 2 November 2022

The Professor David Matthews Non-Clinical Fellowship 2022 award dedicated to researcher’s father, who died due to Covid-19.

DRWF is pleased to announce our new Non-Clinical Fellow for 2022.

Dr Victoria Garfield, of University College London, has been awarded The Professor David Matthews Non-Clinical Fellowship 2022.

The title of Dr Garfield’s proposed research programme is Understanding how diabetes and hyperglycaemia causes cognitive decline, dementia and abnormal brain structure. An integrated genetic epidemiological and deep phenotyping approach to disentangle pathways and interplay of risk factors.

DRWF Funded Researcher Dr Victoria Garfield

The fellowship began on 2nd November and is an award of £128,663.95 over a two-year period.

In a summary of the research Dr Garfield said: “Dementia is one of the most feared diabetes complications. Risks are elevated in people with diabetes, but glucose lowering trials have been disappointing.

“However, Mendelian randomisation is a genetic tool which can help uncover true causal relationships, as genes are randomly distributed at birth and not influenced by external risk factors. Using this, I have shown that diabetes itself does not appear to cause dementia.

“I now want to use this tool to identify which diabetes related factor is the true culprit, in large datasets which include measures of cognition, brain structural damage and dementia.

“There are four potential explanations: i) processes underlying diabetes e.g., insulin resistance, ii) associated metabolic disturbances, e.g., amino acids, iii) associated risk factors e.g., blood pressure (BP), iv) risk factors upstream of diabetes e.g., obesity. 

“By identifying true causal determinants, we will be in a better place to pinpoint interventions to be tested in clinical trials to reduce dementia risk in diabetes.”

Dr Garfield dedicated her research award to the memory of her father, who died in 2020 from Covid-19.

My dad was my biggest cheerleader when it came to my research career and he would have been really proud of the fact that I have not only been awarded this fellowship, but that I will make an important contribution to understanding the complex relationship between diabetes and dementia. It is for these reasons that I would like to dedicate this award to my dad, Richard Garfield, who we sadly lost to Covid-19 in April 2020.

— Dr Victoria Garfield

Read more about the
The Professor David Matthews Non-Clinical Fellowship 2022
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