26 May 2022

Monash Department of Diabetes shines in research awards

L-R: Dr Muthukumar Mohan, Professor Karin Jandeleit-Dahm
and Dr Carlos Rosado have each been awarded funds under the
2022 Diabetes Australia Research Program (DARP)

Congratulations to the Department of Diabetes’ Professor Karin Jandeleit-Dahm, Dr Muthukumar Mohan and Dr Carlos Rosado who have each been awarded funds under the 2022 Diabetes Australia Research Program (DARP).

The Department of Diabetes recipients were among 31 Victorian-based researchers, including eight from Monash University, awarded more than $2 million under DARP this year.

Professor Jandeleit-Dahm and fellow awardee Professor Bayden Wood (School of Chemistry) will work on a project developing a match-box sized, handheld infrared spectrometer which measures early markers of kidney disease directly in urine samples through a container. “This is a very successful collaboration between the Department of Diabetes and the Biospectroscopy Centre as well as the Monash IT department (Professor David Taniar and Associate Professor Michael Wybrow),” Professor Jandeleit-Dahm said.

The researchers were also awarded an ADS-AstraZeneca Diabetes Research Grant for $20,000 to fund the initial technical setup of the device.

Dr Muthukumar Mohan’s project will explore the pro-resolving actions of a family of specialised pro-resolving mediators called Lipoxins (LXs), which are produced in our bodies to regulate inflammatory pathways against atherosclerosis and heart failure. “This project will be completed in collaboration with Professor Catherine Godson in University College Dublin. The use of these agents is a new paradigm-shifting therapeutic approach to treat patients in clinics with inflammatory diseases, including diabetes,” Dr Mohan said. 

Dr Carlos Rosado will undertake a study using glucose-lowering peptides that also show beneficial outcomes for heart and kidney disease. “This work from the Department of Diabetes is potentially exciting not only for people living with Diabetes but also for those suffering from heart or kidney disease,” Dr Rosado said.  

Diabetes Victoria CEO Craig Bennett said: “Each year, the most outstanding projects covering a range of basic, clinical, psychosocial and translational diabetes-related research are selected on merit and supported in the order of approximately $70,000 each to further their research.

“Each research project to receive funding may hold a vital key to the next development or breakthrough, potentially helping to make a real difference to many lives.”

Diabetes is now the fastest-growing chronic condition in Victoria.

“Almost 370,000 Victorians live with diabetes and we estimate that some 125,000 more live with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes,” Mr Bennett said.

The three projects:

Professor Jandeleit-Dahm - ‘Point of care detection of early kidney disease using infrared spectroscopy’.

The device allows for a fast and inexpensive assessment of kidney damage by delivering the results in real time to the health care worker or patient on a smart phone app. It will be validated in clinical cohorts including in the Indigenous population. Earlier and more convenient detection of kidney damage will allow earlier and more effective treatment and ultimately will reduce the burden of kidney disease in diabetes.

Dr Muthukumar Mohan - ‘A pro‐resolving approach as a novel interventional treatment against the vascular complications of diabetes’.

Chronic unresolved inflammation is recognised as a key contributor to diabetic complications, in particular diabetes-associated atherosclerosis. In recent years, a family of endogenously produced bioactive molecules referred to as specialised pro-resolving mediators (SPMs) have generated much interest due to their ability to resolve inflammation in a number of inflammatory disease conditions including diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and Kaposi's sarcoma. Using unique reagents from University College Dublin, our lab will assess for the first time the pharmacological pro-resolving properties one of these SPMs, Lipoxin A4 (LXA4) and a related mimetic (CT4-43 and KG522), in a mouse model of diabetes to determine their cardioprotective effects. 

Dr Carlos Rosado - ‘Exploring the intracrine effects of GLP‐1 peptides’.

GLP-1 peptides lower glucose levels, but also cause improvements in cardiovascular outcomes and kidney function by mechanisms likely related to mitochondria and protection against the generation of reactive oxygen species. We have made some cell-penetrating, GLP-1-based peptides that reduce glucose levels, and will test them in models to determine their cardiovascular- and reno-protective capacity. Ultimately, this research could lead to novel therapeutics to reduce complications from heart and kidney disease.

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