Diabetes, Metabolic Health and Chronic Diseases

Diabetes, Metabolic Health
and Chronic Diseases

This theme of research includes work in obesity, type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes and covers the translational continuum from epidemiology to pathophysiology, clinical trials, models of care, health economics and public health. The theme is integrated with the National Association of Diabetes Centres accredited Centre of Excellence in diabetes research, education and clinical care, based across MCHRI and Monash Health.

Theme Lead

Associate Professor Barbora de Courten is a National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow and a general physician. Her research covers the full research continuum from basic science, epidemiology, clinical trials to clinical practice, public health and health economics. It involves discovery of disease biomarkers through uncovering mechanistic causal relationships in pathophysiology to testing innovative interventions for prevention and treatment of diabetes and related chronic diseases as well as developing new models of care.

Theme Research Areas

Biomarkers of diabetes and chronic diseases

Overview of activities

Investigating disease biomarkers including inflammation markers, advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), microbiome, lipidomics.

Major current projects

  • Inflammatory markers and adipokines in obesity, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes
  • Role of AGEs in diabetes and cardiovascular diseases
  • Lipidomics in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gestational diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Microbiome in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Our team

Major collaborations

  • Jose Fernandez-Real, Biomedical Research Institute of Girona
  • Marloes Dekker Nitert, The University of Queensland
  • Peter Meikle, Baker IDI
  • Josephine Forbes, The University of Queensland
  • Prof Magdalena Plebanski, RMIT
  • Prof Susanne Bugel, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Prof Lars Dragsted, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Prof Reaven, Veterans Affair Hospital, USA

Low-cost interventions for prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes and related chronic diseases

Overview of activities

Investigating role of diets, nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals for prevention and treatment of diabetes and related chronic diseases.

Major current projects

  • AGEs – Diets low in advanced glycation end-products and prevention of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • Vitamin D – Vitamin D and prevention of type 2 diabetes and role of SNPs
  • Carnosine –
    • A) Carnosine supplementation and prevention of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors
    • B) Carnosine supplementation and management of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors
  • Does Metformin positively change microbiome in PCOS?
  • Utility of nutrigenomics for prevention and treatment of chronic diseases

Our team

Major collaborations

  • Associate Professor Ukropcova, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava
  • Professor Derave, University of Ghent, Belgium
  • Professor Aldini, University of Milan, Italy
  • Professor Bhatnagar, University of Louisville, USA
  • Professor Uribarri, Mount Sinai, USA
  • Professor Susanne Bugel, University of Copenhagen
  • Professor Lars Dragsted, University of Copenhagen
  • Professor Scragg, University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • Ms Shelley Gorman, Telethon Kids Institute, Perth
  • Ms Jemma Evans, Hudson Institute
  • Ms Josephine Forbes, The University of Queensland

Health economics of diabetes and related chronic diseases

Overview of activities

Health economics of obesity, diabetes, interventions for preventions and treatment of these diseases.

Major current projects

  • Health economics of obesity
  • Health economics of type 2 diabetes
  • Carnosine for prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes

Our team

Models of care for diabetes

Overview of activities

Evaluating models of care for treatment of diabetes and related chronic diseases.

Major current projects

  • Shared Medical Appointments
  • Cystic Fibrosis Diabetes Clinic
  • Diabetes support service

Our team

Gestational diabetes

Overview of activities

Investigating predictors of gestational diabetes and interventions for prevention and treatment.

Major current projects

  • Gestational diabetics
  • Epidemiology
  • Prevention of GDM and adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • Mechanisms underpinning GDM, risk prediction and surveillance
  • Large scale NHMRC funded RCTs
  • Optimal GDM management and models of care, surveillance and lifestyle intervention post GDM for prevention of type II diabetes

Key priorities are establishment of a risk prediction tool and implementation of a national surveillance model for assessing risks of GDM.

Our team

Key collaborators

  • Professor David Simmons (NSW)
  • Shakila Thanaraginum (UK)
  • Including national Leads across 10 of the largest maternity centres nationally

Major collaborations

  • International IWHP network