Women and girls in diabetes science

A United Nations initiative — International Day of Women and Girls in Science — took place earlier this year to promote and encourage the participation of women and girls in science. Diabetes UK, the charitable funder dedicated to diabetes research in the UK, is dedicated to supporting the leaders of diabetes research. Currently 54 women scientists funded by the charity are working to change the lives of people with diabetes. Ground-breaking research funded by the charity for more than 80 years has been instrumental in improving diabetes care and moving us closer to a cure.

Professor Helen Murphy, Researcher at the University of East Anglia, demonstrates how Diabetes UK’s research strategy is changing people’s lives. In 2016, she led a Diabetes UK-funded clinical trial that showed that pregnant women with Type 1 diabetes could successfully use an artificial pancreas to manage their condition throughout their pregnancy and childbirth.
Also funded by Diabetes UK, Professor Melissa Westwood, Researcher at the University of Manchester, is finding out why women with diabetes can experience problems with fertility, in order to find ways to prevent such problems in the future. She says, “Diabetes UK have been a tremendous support to my research, and I’m hopeful that our work will help to improve the lives of women with diabetes in the future.”

Meanwhile, Dr Victoria Salem, Clinical Researcher at Imperial College London, is currently funded by Diabetes UK to find out whether hormones found in our gut could be used as a therapy to put Type 2 diabetes into remission in the future. “I feel hugely privileged,” she says, “I’ve got a responsibility to produce research that’s really going to make a difference to people with diabetes. 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.”

Diabetes UK’s Research Communications Manager Dr Emily Burns adds, “All of our fantastic researchers play a vital role in helping us to know diabetes, and fight diabetes. This International Day of Women and Girls in Science we recognise the achievements of our amazing female researchers, who have had a huge impact on the treatment of diabetes. They will continue to be leaders in the world of diabetes research and care. There are of course many more people doing incredible work and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for everything they do.”

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