Researcher wins international funding to help pioneer diabetes care

Researcher wins international funding to help pioneer diabetes care

A Swansea University researcher’s pioneering work in the field of diabetes has helped earn her a major funding boost. 

Dr Olivia McCarthy has won a £67,000 (600.000 kr) grant from the Danish Diabetes Association to carry on investigating the latest artificial pancreas technology in people with type 1 diabetes who are performing exercise.

An artificial pancreas is a man-made device that is designed to release insulin in response to changing blood glucose levels in a similar way to a human pancreas.

The funding will allow postgraduate research fellow Dr McCarthy to continue with the SMART study, which helps develop guidelines for people living with type 1 diabetes to exercise safely using the newest insulin pumps.

She said: “We hope that the information that we get from this will help people use their pumps safely and manage their glucose appropriately and in doing so empower them to get the benefit of exercise.

“Now when people want to do exercise with family or friends, they have to think way in advance and become a mathematician and a dietitian.”

She added: “I hope that we will get to a point where we can remove all these stresses so people can exercise freely without the burdens and barriers that come along with diabetes.”

Dr McCarthy divides her time between the University’s Applied Sports, Technology, Exercise and Medicine (A-STEM)research programme and the Diabetes Technology Research at the Steno Diabetes Center in Copenhagen.

Professor Richard Bracken, from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, explained that the collaboration with Copenhagen had come about after initial help from St David’s Medical Foundation (SDMF), the independent charity which raises funds to support ground-breaking work in Medical Research and Education at Swansea University.

He said: “The Diabetes Research Unit in Swansea University Medical School has raised significant funds for SDMF and it is great to see these being used to develop the career of a researcher in the field of diabetes.

“We are so pleased that Olivia’s expertise has been recognised. This important research funding will allow her to continue to enhance her work on integrating diabetes technology around physical exercise, with Professor Kirsten Norgaard who leads the Diabetes Technology group at Steno and ourselves, at Swansea University.”

Author: Eileen Gilbert