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Life Sciences student awarded grant to aid diabetes research

A Life Sciences PhD student has been awarded a grant to learn a vital technique for her research in diabetes.

Posted: 18 August 2017

image for news story Life Sciences student awarded grant to aid diabetes research

The Society for Endocrinology has awarded the Practical Skills Grant consisting of £601 to Nirun Videesha Hewawasam for her research on cellular communication in pancreatic islet cells. The aim of this study is to identify potential new therapeutic targets in diabetic medicine to eventually help individuals with type 2 diabetes maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Nirun will be exploring ways to improve the survival and function of insulin producing beta-cells and pancreatic islets when they are stressed by high fat and glucose levels as well as inflammation – stressors typical of type 2 diabetes.

The majority of people with diabetes in the UK have Type 2 and high blood sugar.  By 2040, is predicted that 642 million people around the world will have diabetes according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).   

Nirun Videesha Hewawasam said: “It is an honour to receive this award so that I can explore potential new approaches to treat type 2 diabetes and help individuals to maintain adequate levels of blood glucose.”

Nirun started her project, titled “Intercellular communication and pancreatic islet function in type 2 diabetes” in October 2016 and aims to finish at the end of September 2019. The project is under the supervisions of Drs Sue Reeves, Michael Patterson, and Astrid Hauge Evans. Dr Astrid Hauge Evans was awarded a £10,000 grant last year from the Society for Endocrinology to buy new equipment for the department.

The Department of Life Sciences offers outstanding undergraduate degrees in Biomedical Science, Nutrition and Health and postgraduate degree in Health Sciences.

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