Thank you to our wonderful women in science – by Kotryna Temcinaite
Currently we’re funding 54 women scientists, who are working to change the lives of people with diabetes. Approaching International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we wanted to say thank you to our brilliant female researchers and share some of their stories.
They will continue to be leaders in the world of diabetes research and care, and we hope too that they will inspire girls and young women to become the researchers of tomorrow.
Dr Kathleen Gillespie is currently funded by Diabetes UK to continue the world’s longest running family study of Type 1 diabetes. She says: “I am incredibly grateful to the charity and their supporters. My team are focused on understanding how and why Type 1 diabetes develops, so that we can find ways to prevent the condition – and stop it in its tracks in those already diagnosed – in the future.”
“The immune system does the very important job of protecting us from infection, but attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas in Type 1 diabetes. I hope that by studying the immune system, we’ll find ways to prevent or stop this attack that leads to Type 1 diabetes in the future.” – says Professor Susan Wong, who is developing a therapy to protect against Type 1 diabetes.
Dr Pamela Bowman is working to improve the support and treatments available for people living neonatal diabetes. She says: “I’m hopeful that the work I am doing will help us to understand neonatal diabetes better and offer people living with this condition more support.”
“We hope our work will help to make a real difference to the lives of people with diabetes and mental illness in the future.” – says Dr Najma Siddiqi, trying to understand the true impact of diabetes on people living with mental health conditions.
Professor Melissa Westwood is trying to understand why women with diabetes can experience problems with fertility. She says: “I’m hopeful that our work will help to improve the lives of women with diabetes in the future. We’re trying to understand how sugar affects the womb – once we have this picture, new treatments to improve the chance of these women having a successful pregnancy could be developed.”
“We know that some people with diabetes get misdiagnosed with the wrong type of diabetes and this can affect the treatment they receive and make their diabetes control difficult. I’m testing new screening methods to see if we can develop a more accurate way to correctly diagnose young adults with diabetes and increase the diagnostic rate of a rare form of diabetes called MODY.” – says Dr Agata Juszczak, Diabetes UK Sir George Alberti fellow.
Professor Helen Murphy showed just last year that pregnant women with Type 1 diabetes could successfully use an artificial pancreas throughout their pregnancy and childbirth. She says: “The trial’s success was a real moment for us, and we’re so pleased that artificial pancreas technology is closer to becoming a reality for women with Type 1 diabetes that want to have a child.”
“I feel hugely privileged – I’ve got this responsibility to produce research that’s really going to make a difference to people with diabetes – hopefully within my lifetime. We know that bariatric surgery can put Type 2 diabetes into remission, and I want to understand whether gut hormones could be used as a therapy to produce the same effect in the future.” – says Dr Victoria Salem, Diabetes UK Harry Keen fellow.
Dr Claire Hills is trying to work out why kidney cells can’t work properly in people with diabetes. She says: “Many people with diabetes experience kidney problems, and it’s only through studying the biology behind kidney disease that we’re going to find new and effective treatments to stop them.”
“I’m really driven to understanding more about how and why Type 2 diabetes develops, so that we can find better treatments to support people across the globe living with this condition.” – says Professor Aine McKillop, focusing on how beta cells work.
Dr Li Kang aims to develop a new way of improving the body’s response to insulin in people with Type 2 diabetes. She says: “I am very grateful to Diabetes UK for the funding, support and opportunity it has given us to find the answers to important scientific questions.”
We’re incredibly grateful for your ongoing support. Without it, we couldn’t fund researchers like these who working hard for the world where diabetes can do no harm.
We’re sure you’re with us when we say a huge thank you to all of our researchers across the UK.