Programme Leader – Prof Nick Wareham
Diabetes is a chronic disorder of glucose metabolism and is a major cause of heart disease and premature death. The number of people with diabetes is rising worldwide. Between 35–40% of people in Europe will develop diabetes over their lifetime.
It has been suggested that type 2 diabetes originates from an interaction between genetic and lifestyle behaviour factors such as physical activity and diet. Together these factors influence glucose metabolism and the development of diabetes.
To improve the health of the public we need to understand the causes (aetiology) of diabetes and to develop ways of preventing the disease. We aim to identify how genetic and environmental factors influence the risk of type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders.
The two main projects of our research are the EU-funded InterAct and the genome-wide association study of insulin-glucose metabolism.
The InterAct Project
This study is designed to investigate how genetic and lifestyle behavioural factors, particularly diet and physical activity, interact in their influence on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
InterAct uses data from EPIC-Europe. EPIC is the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, a large study of diet and health that has recruited over half a million (520,000) people across Europe. EPIC was designed to investigate the relationships between diet, nutritional status, lifestyle and environmental factors and the incidence of cancer and other chronic diseases. InterAct is using data from EPIC to identify genes and lifestyle factors that interact and influence the risk of diabetes. The project brings together existing trials to test whether the success of lifestyle interventions on diabetes risk may differ according to an individual’s genetic make-up.
For more information about the InterAct Project click here.
Insulin-glucose metabolism study
Genetic changes specific to type 2 diabetes have recently been found through studies of the human genome. We aim to understand the mechanisms controlling the early development of type 2 diabetes at the genetic level. We are doing this by performing a genome-wide study of gene characteristics related to type 2 diabetes, such as glucose and insulin levels and signs of insulin resistance and beta-cell function. We now have data from more than 7,000 individuals who have been characterised for 500,000 genetic variations.
- Erlend Aasheim – Visiting Worker
- Tom Bishop – Senior Data Scientist
- Lina Cai – Research Assistant
- Marco Carbone – Visiting Scientist
- Effrossyni Gkrania-Klotsas – Career Development Fellow
- Nicola Kerrison – Data Scientist
- Claudia Langenberg – Programme Leader Track researcher
- Chen Li – Ph.D. Student
- Sherly Li – Ph.D. Student
- Luca A. Lotta – Clinical Career Development Fellow
- Nick Wareham – Director
- Laura Wittemans – Ph.D. Student
- Dan Wright – Ph.D. Student