To coincide with World Diabetes Day (Nov 14th), the Diabetes Australia Research Trust (DART) announced funding of $3.2 million for 50 new projects in 2013. The major grant, the Viertel Post Doctoral Fellowship in Diabetes was awarded to Professor Andrew Murphy from Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute for his work investigating why three out of four people with diabetes die from heart disease.
Dr Murphy has made the observation that mice with diabetes have increased platelet levels (blood borne cells that promote blood clotting) and that appeared to be due to enhanced production by stem cells.
The funding of $300,000 will go a long way to support Dr Murphy's work. It covers his salary, a research assistant and expenses for the project.
Diabetes Australia Research Trust Chairman John Townend said "Over the past 7 years, the Diabetes Australia Research Trust has invested $18 million in quality Australian research projects like Andrew's, which lead to better lives for people with diabetes. There is a growing field of exciting diabetes projects that the Diabetes Australia Research Trust is proud to fund."
Other major grants in 2013 are the two Millennium Awards for projects in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These were awarded to:
Dr. Nora Straznicky, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute
Neuroadrenergic dysfunction along the diabetic continuum: Benefits of weight loss within different strata of metabolic risk
A/Professor Rebecca Ritchie, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute
Nitroxyl (HNO) donors as novel pharmacotherapy specifically for the cardiac complications of type 1 diabetes.
The Diabetes Australia Research Trust also funded 43 General Research Grants which include three Behavioural Research Grants.
About the Diabetes Australia Research Trust
Established by Diabetes Australia in 1987, the Trust supports and develops the field of diabetes research in Australia through providing funding towards the prevention, management and cure of diabetes, as well as enabling and fostering young and upcoming researchers in diabetes research.
Dr Andrew Murphy completed his PhD at the Baker IDI in 2008 under the supervision of Prof Jaye Chin-Dusting, winning both the Rod Andrews Prize for best presentation by a second year student as well as the Paul Korner Prize for top final year student. After a year as a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Baker IDI, Dr Murphy took up a position in 2010 at Columbia University, New York with Prof Alan Tall where he was awarded an American Heart Association Fellowship. D has published in leading specialist scientific and medical journals and has been invited to present in several international conferences.
Three out of four people who suffer from diabetes die of cardiovascular disease. Why people with diabetes are at a higher risk and develop accelerated heart disease remains unclear. Furthermore, the benefit of intensive glucose control in combination with lipid lowering therapy is currently under debate. Using mouse models of diabetes, Dr Murphy made the novel observation that diabetic mice have increased platelet levels (blood borne cells that promote blood clotting) and that appeared to be due enhanced production by stem cells. As platelets play an important role in the imitation of heart disease, this may provide us with a link to why people with diabetes do worse in heart disease.