Researcher awarded funding for promising type 1 diabetes research | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Researcher awarded funding for promising type 1 diabetes research

University of the Sunshine Coast researcher Dr Steven James has won a prestigious national award to provide new insights across the lifespans of people living with type 1 diabetes.

Diabetes Australia has presented Dr James with the Charles Campbell Coghlan OAM Emerging Researcher Award, valued at $136,000, for a two-year ‘TREE’ research project.

The UniSC Nursing Science academic, who lives with type 1 diabetes, will lead the study to generate new and updated data across five key areas, with the overarching goal of reducing diabetes-related complications and premature death.

“The research will consider the short-term clinical outcomes of people with positive screening for type 1 diabetes and body measurements and proportions at, and around, the time they are diagnosed,” Dr James said.

“It will explore how people across Australia are utilising diabetes healthcare services, the outcomes of those living with type 1 diabetes, and the risk factors for death.”

Dr Steven James and Diabetes Australia CEO Justine Cain.

Its findings will help progress screening to identify children and adolescents who are at risk of developing the condition, contribute to more effective diabetes health services and advocacy, as well as advancing knowledge to potentially prevent the condition from developing.

“Diabetes Research is pivotal. It reduces and defers complications, improves quality of life, saves lives and moreover, creates hope,” Dr James said.

“I am honoured to be the winner of the 2024 Diabetes Australia Charles Campbell Coghlan OAM Emerging Researcher Award.”

Chair of the Diabetes Australia Research Trust, Lucy Brogden, said the Diabetes Australia Research Program aimed to support and develop outstanding diabetes research, and Dr James's work truly aligned with this mission.

“The competitive, peer-reviewed selection process ensures that donor funds are invested to achieve the maximum benefit for people living with diabetes,” she said.

Charles Coghlan was a Victorian farmer and businessman who developed type 2 diabetes late in life and left a generous bequest when he passed away in 2017, which supports the funding of important diabetes research.

Diabetes Australia's Group CEO, Justine Cain, said Mr Coghlan lived a life of service to his regional community, so it was fitting that this year’s recipient was a researcher from a regional university.

“Important research doesn’t just happen in capital cities. It’s wonderful to see that this project is being undertaken at the University of Sunshine Coast where there are great minds tackling serious research,” she said.

“This is a critical time for Australian diabetes research as NHMRC funding has declined by 35 percent over the past decade while the number of people living with diabetes has increased by 32 percent.

"Research creates hope, and that’s essential to a person living with diabetes.”

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