Centre for Diabetes Research

Our work at the Centre for Diabetes Research is aimed at understanding and preventing diabetes and its complications.

Diabetes is recognized as a major public health problem and is Australia's fifth "national health priority area". It is characterized by increased blood sugar levels, and has two major forms: type 1 diabetes, which results from the body's own immune system destroying the insulin-producing cells; and type 2 diabetes, which results from the person's growing inability to respond normally to insulin. Both forms of diabetes are caused by complex interactions between many genes and environmental factors. Our particular focus is on the genetics of type 1 diabetes.

Our group was part of the world-wide Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium, and led collaborative networks across Australia and the Asia-Pacific region in assembling resources to identify the genes which affect the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. We also study animal models of type 2 diabetes and diabetes complications. Our work has resulted in the identification of genes affecting each form of diabetes in both humans and mice.

We are now investigating ways that we can restore the ability to produce insulin by developing stem cell treatments. Finally, we are also establishing state-of-the-art "systems genetics" technologies, which will integrate multiple levels of data with underlying genetic information, allowing the definition of networks of interacting genes. We have produced the next generation genetics resource, the Gene Mine. We developed the world’s first mouse model of diabetic retinopathy (diabetic blindness) using this resource.

The Centre for Diabetes Research gratefully acknowledges the support of the Diabetes Research Foundation.

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