JDRF is pleased to announce the recipients of the Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Network’s (T1DCRN) Mentored Clinician Researcher Fellowship Award (MCRF) for 2017. The T1DCRN is an innovative clinical research program led by JDRF Australia and funded by a Special Research Initiative through the Australian Research Council (ARC). One of the key objectives of the CRN is to nurture the next generation of clinical research leaders and secure the future of type 1 diabetes (T1D) research in Australia.
This prestigious award aims to attract and support clinicians to dedicate some of their time and resources to type 1 diabetes research. The recipients will spend a quarter of each week working on promising research that links to their clinical work – this would not be possible without the support of the MCRF. Recipients are chosen based on high potential to make significant progress towards curing, treating or preventing type 1 diabetes.
Dr Dorota Pawlak, Head of Research Development and Director of the T1DCRN said “Clinician researchers are essential in helping to bridge the gap between lab-based research, clinical research and getting new treatments and therapies to people with T1D.”
The recipients of the awards will also be supported by a senior mentor in the field to help them to develop their research careers.
JDRF congratulates Dr Vinutha Shetty and Dr Sarah Glastras as the two Mentored Clinician Researcher Fellowship Award recipients for 2017.
Dr Vinutha Shetty, University of Western Australia
Exercise is an essential part of everyday life, but for people with T1D it can cause unpredictable changes in blood glucose levels such as delayed hypoglycaemia. Many people with T1D avoid exercise because of this, and are missing out on physical and mental health benefits.
At this moment, exercise guidelines are not adequate enough to prevent unpredictable swings in blood glucose levels and fear of hypoglycaemia.
Dr Shetty’s clinical research training will include developing new guidelines through studying carbohydrate requirements for different exercise types, effects of hyperglycaemia in exercise performance, use of CGMs and exercise, and the role of sprinting in hypoglycaemia prevention.
This work will form part of the larger food and exercise T1DCRN clinical trial run at the Children’s Diabetes Centre at the Telethon Kids Institute, led by Professor Elizabeth Davis.
Dr Sarah Glastras, University of Sydney
Pre-eclampsia is a serious problem in pregnancy when blood pressure becomes very high and delivery needs to be induced early. Premature births can cause health complications for mum and baby.
Women with type 1 diabetes are about four times more likely to develop preeclampsia during pregnancy, however it is very difficult to predict who will develop it.
Dr Glastras’ clinical research training will investigate a new biomarker called clusterin, to see if this can accurately predict who will develop preeclampsia. She will look to recruit 65 women with T1D to be part of this study. If we can find a simple marker, then preeclampsia could be prevented, and this will make a big difference to the health of mums with T1D and their babies.
JDRF’s most recent MCRF awardee, Perth-based Dr Mary Abraham received the grant in 2015. Dr Abraham has been able to dedicate time towards type 1 diabetes research over the past two years, investigating how common hypoglycaemia unawareness is, and whether hybrid closed loop technology can restore awareness in a clinic setting. Hypoglycaemia unawareness means that people do not recognise the symptoms of low blood sugar levels, and fail to recognise the need to treat it. This leads to extreme low blood glucose levels and risk of coma. Dr Abraham has been working under the mentorship of the young person’s hybrid closed loop trial lead, Professor Tim Jones.