We recently opened our laboratory doors to Diabetes UK and their District Local Group supporters.
Our School’s Dr Michael Christie (pictured, right) is funded by the charity and his ongoing research focuses on trying to stop the rogue immune attack that happens in people with Type 1 diabetes, in order to prevent the condition from developing in the future.
He said: “Diabetes UK has supported my work for many years, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to open my doors and explain what we do first hand to those it affects most.”
The tour enabled our visitors to witness ground-breaking diabetes research taking place in the School of Life Sciences laboratories.
Dr Christie’s work is one of many studies that Diabetes UK is supporting all over the country, with more than £450,000 worth of that research happening right now in our School of Life Sciences. Each one of our individual projects is helping to transform the treatment and prevention of all forms of diabetes, ultimately leading us towards a cure.
Liz Aldridge from the Diabetes UK Lincoln and District Local Group attended the tour and said after her visit: “I returned home thinking that I should really devote the rest of my life to raising (and giving) money for research! I was so impressed by the dedication of the researchers. I found the day inspiring and am really grateful for the opportunity to see first-hand the amazing research into Type 1 diabetes that is happening here on our doorstep.”
Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science, Dr Matthew Simmonds, was also present at the tour and explained his research into islet transplants, an important treatment option for some people with Type 1 diabetes. Dr Simmonds is part of Diabetes UK’s Innovator in Diabetes (IDia) programme; a course designed to support early career scientists to become the next leaders in diabetes research.
Approximately 10 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 1 and 90 per cent have Type 2. People with Type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels. The exact causes of the condition are unknown, but it is not related to lifestyle factors and cannot currently be prevented. Type 1 diabetes usually affects children or young adults, starting suddenly and getting worse quickly. It is treated with daily insulin doses – taken by either injection or using an insulin pump.
Dr Emily Burns, Diabetes UK Research Communications Manager, said: “We’re indebted to our supporters for helping us fund the incredible work of scientists like Dr Christie, helping to improve the lives of people living with diabetes. We’re really pleased that we got the opportunity to say thank you to some of our supporters, who were able to see where our funding goes first-hand.
“By funding critical research like this, we’re bringing about life-changing steps in the care, treatment and prevention of diabetes. Ultimately, we want to reach a world where diabetes can do no harm.
Diabetes UK relies on public support to fund scientists like Dr Christie and the charity spends around £7 million every year on much-needed diabetes research. You can find out how to donate to this worthy cause online.