Reader at the School of Life Sciences, Dr Claire Hills, has been awarded the Physiological Society’s 2019 Joan Mott Prize Lecture.
The Lecture recognises a female physiologist for their long-term contribution to the field and is one of the Society’s most prestigious international awards. Claire joins a long list of renowned female international physiologists who have previously been awarded this Prize, including Professor Rhian Touyz (2017), Director of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow and Professor Hannelore Daniel (2015), Chair of Physiology of Human Nutrition at the Technical University of Munich.
In addition to receiving an honorarium, Dr Hills will deliver the Prize Lecture to the Society’s main meeting in Aberdeen, Scotland. The Lecture will be published in the Society’s Journal, Experimental Physiology.
Dr Simmonds’ research at the University of Lincoln involves investigating genetic predictors of long-term pancreas transplant function in people with type 1 diabetes.
This grant awarded by the society will help to promote endocrinology and diabetes research within the School of Life Sciences Undergraduate programmes and also across the Biomedical Science (MBio) programme.
The Society for Endocrinology will be sponsoring a £100 prize/certificate for the best endocrine/diabetes third year undergraduate project and a £200 prize/certificate for the best endocrine/diabetes MBio project.
Prof Paul Squires has been elected as Fellow of the Physiological Society (London). The Fellowship recognises his continuous and active service to physiology over a 25 year period, and is based on research excellence and ongoing studies that examine how cells communicate with each other to maintain function in health and disease.
Prof Squires joined the University of Lincoln in 2014 and has published in excess of 75 research articles in the area of diabetes and endocrinology. As lead for the new Diabetes, Metabolism & Inflammation (DMI) Research Group at the School of Life Sciences, Prof Squires has been instrumental in making diabetes research a major strength within Life Sciences at Lincoln. The DMI Group is generously supported by external grants from Diabetes UK, the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD) and the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation (DRWF) and its members work with a number of Charities and Societies to promote patient participation & involvement in research designed to impact on the end user.
The Physiological Society brings together over 3,500 scientists from over 60 countries. Since its foundation in 1876, its Members have made significant contributions to our knowledge of biological systems and the treatment of disease.
The Society promotes physiology and supports those working in the field by organising world-class scientific meetings, offering grants for research, collaboration and international travel, and by publishing the latest developments in leading scientific journals, The Journal of Physiology, Experimental Physiology and Physiological Reports. The Society also runs events for the general public on how physiology relates to everyday life, and for students who may be considering physiology as a career. For more information please visit www.physoc.org.
Diabetic nephropathy represents the leading cause of kidney failure in people with diabetes and is the greatest cause of entry onto the kidney transplantation programme. Currently diabetes is treated with drugs that regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Whilst these treatments slow disease progression in the diabetic kidney, over a protracted period of time many people will still develop kidney failure. As a result, there is a desperate need to improve therapeutic intervention to combat the long-term complications of this lifelong incapacitating metabolic disease.
The School of Life Sciences’ Dr Claire Hills and Professor Paul Squires have been awarded an EFSD/Boehringer award of €100k to examine how high levels of blood sugar cause cells of the kidney to malfunction. Specifically, they are interested in how cells of the kidney talk to each other and how this level of conversation may become compromised in disease, changes, which is believed, are linked to a series of inflammatory events.
In collaboration with clinical colleagues, the project will investigate the ability of a new drug to help restore those detrimental changes in the kidney, an aspiration which has the potential for development of improved therapies designed to prevent progression of kidney complications of diabetes, thus reducing the number of patients developing kidney failure.
EFSD is a non-profit foundation, which seeks to support the highest quality research in Europe to find a cure for all types of diabetes and associated complications and to prevent their onset. The EFSD aims to co-operate with other government and non-government agencies in order to increase funding in European diabetes research as a means of achieving its goals. Through its various activities and programmes, the Foundation also strives to enhance awareness in Europe of the severity and magnitude of this devastating disease
The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, Boehringer Ingelheim operates globally with 142 affiliates and a total of more than 47,400 employees. The focus of the family-owned company, founded in 1885, is researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing new medications of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.
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.