Thomas research group

Biochemistry of Diabetes Complications

Key terms: Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs), Atherosclerosis, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), Diabetes, Diabetic Complications, Diabetic Kidney Disease (DKD), Renin Angiotensin System

Research goals

  1. Exploring and understanding the key pathways involved in the development and progression of diabetic complications.
  2. Development of new therapeutics targeted towards the prevention and management of diabetic complications.

The group

Feb 2017 Thomas group. L-R: Dr Chris Tikellis,   Professor Merlin Thomas, Dr Raelene Pickering, Dr Carlos Rosado. Absent: Ms Monique Smith, Ms Alex Dimiropoulos.

Research Overview

The Biochemistry of Diabetes Complications Laboratory addresses important mechanistic questions across the spectrum of diabetic complications. This work is directed towards the development of novel preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies through multidisciplinary approaches combining bench-top research with human physiology and clinical studies. Our work directly impacts on patient care and has been published in major journals including Circulation Research, Diabetes, Diabetes Care and Diabetologia.

Professor Merlin Thomas is an internationally recognised clinician-scientist working in the field of diabetic complications, an area of utmost importance for the health of Australians. He is trained in both nephrology and endocrinology, but is also a state-of-the-art molecular scientist. Globally, he is the third-highest ranked expert in diabetic kidney disease and recognised as an opinion leader in the field of diabetic complications. His translational research spans basic biochemistry and biology to epidemiology and clinical trials. Dr Thomas has an exceptional track record of productivity with more than 270 publications many in the highest ranked journals in his field. He is also a sought-after speaker, teacher and best-selling author, demonstrating his exceptional capability to communicate complex scientific understanding to a general audience.

As both a clinician and a scientist, Professor Thomas’ work is keenly focused on the application of his work, improving the understanding and management of diabetic complications. This work has led to the establishment of international patents as well as influencing national and international guidelines. He is CIB in the newly created NHMRC Diabetes Complications CRE. His “Biochemistry of Diabetes Complications” laboratory in the newly created Department of Diabetes at Monash University is an ideal environment for multidisciplinary research, providing a combination of intellectual and scientific expertise, high-quality infrastructure and state-of-the-art capabilities.

The principal objective of Professor Thomas' research laboratory is to advance the field of diabetes by identifying and validating novel targets towards the development of efficacious strategies for the prevention and management of diabetic complications.

Projects and Opportunities

Projects: some of our current research projects include exploring, understanding and optimising:

  • regulation of ACE2 shedding.
  • regulation of glyoxalase expression and activity.
  • regulation of RAGE splicing.
  • effects of activation of the renin angiotensin system of the epigenome and transgenerational memory.
  • vasculoprotective effects of GLP-1.
  • epigenetic determinants of diabetic kidney disease (with the El-Osta group)
  • vasculoprotective effects of SGLT2 inhibition.

Opportunities: Students are welcome to join our team, with supervision offered for Honours, Masters and PhD students.

Current project funding

This laboratory is part of the JDRF/NHMRC Diabetes Complications Centre of Research Excellence. In addition, this research team has also been successful in obtaining continuous project grant funding from the NHMRC over the last five years, totalling nearly 4 million dollars, as well as competitive funding from the National heart foundation and Diabetes Australia.

Recent publications

Pubmed link [Thomas+MC+diabetes]