The activities of the GDRC will focus on diabetes and pre-diabetes ranging from the basic science level to clinical, societal and population levels. The Centre’s research is organised into three broad research cluster.
Aetiology and Prevention
The Aetiology and Prevention Cluster contributes to our understanding of how diabetes develops and what are the underlying mechanisms. This knowledge is essential to drive future improvements in clinical management and health services research. The cluster is actively researching diabetes pathogenesis at every level of disease, from genes, through glycoproteins and endoplasmic reticulum stress. At a cellular level the role of stem cells, the influence of glucolipotoxicity on beta cell function and the interactions between the immune and musculoskeletal systems are being explored. We are also conducting in vivo human studies exploring novel diagnostic and mechanistic biomarkers for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The integration of knowledge at molecular, cellular, organ and whole organism level will improve our understanding of disease aetiology and contribute to prevention of diabetes and related disorders.
Current and Future Clinical Management
Current and Future Clinical Management investigators are focused on the development of new therapies for diabetes mellitus. This includes clinical trial programmes involving diabetologists, nephrologists, cardiologists and other relevant subspecialties. These studies are performed through the HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway (CRFG) with the support of research nurses, quality assurance staff and biostatisticians. There is also a major focus on the development of biomaterials and stem cell based approaches to regenerative therapies through the Science Foundation Ireland funded research centres REMEDI and NFB. This research cluster has a special interest in developing new therapies for the complications of diabetes mellitus with a special emphasis on the treatment of tissue ischemia and diabetic foot ulcers. The cluster also explores psychological and social supports to influence the management of the younger patient with type 1 diabetes mellitus. The application of lifestyle interventions is also being actively investigated in the context of diabetes mellitus and obesity.
Population and Health Services Research
Population Health Research (PHR) and Health Services Research (HSR) within this research cluster will contribute to the evidence required to help address the many challenges of health care delivery in diabetes. These challenges include changing the way services are delivered, evaluating the health care needs of the diabetes population and measuring the relative effectiveness of interventions. Through PHR, understanding the effects of public health initiatives will be increasingly critical as health services are restructured and decisions are made about where to make investments of public money. HSR will conduct studies to improve the quality of health care, reduce its cost, evaluate its effectiveness, improve patient safety and broaden access to services. Studies range from assessing technologies and approaches to providing diabetes care, to evaluating health care interventions. As health care costs increase and the need to provide value for money increases, the role of HSR becomes more and more crucial.