Rising Star Fellowship winners, Dr Andrew Wood and Dr Hanieh Yaghootkar

Two Exeter diabetes researchers recognised as “Rising Stars”

Two researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School have been recognised as rising stars in diabetes research.

Dr Andrew Wood and Dr Hanieh Yaghootkar have been awarded two of just four €30,000 (£25,500) awards made across Europe, from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes e.V. (EASD). The award, made under the Rising Star Fellowship Programme and supported by global healthcare company Novo Nordisk, is designed to fund selected research projects of promising and innovative young researchers. Winning academics also give a presentation to the EASD Annual Meeting, this year taking place in Lisbon in September.

Dr Andrew Wood, of the University of Exeter Medical School, was selected for his project “Using genetics to understand the interaction between BMI and physical activity and risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes”.

Dr Wood said: “I’m delighted to win this award, and I’m excited to get funding for a project that could make a real difference in type 2 diabetes, one of the greatest global health challenges of our time. We know that risk of type 2 diabetes is linked to weight, and it’s really important to understand how we can mitigate this in a meaningful way.”

Dr Hanieh Yaghootkar, of the University of Exeter Medical School, was selected for her project “Using human genetics to understand the underlying mechanisms that protect some obese people from type 2 diabetes”.

Dr Yaghootkar said: “It’s a real honour to receive this award, particularly as only four are made across Europe each year. The fact that two of them came to Exeter is testimony to the world-class research excellence in diabetes at the Medical School. Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes and as it increases, we need to understand more about why some people develop type 2 diabetes at lower weight and why some people stay healthy despite being obese. A greater understanding of relatively healthy obesity will inform therapeutic decision making, the characterization of subjects in research protocols and medical education."

Professor Clive Ballard, Executive Dean and Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Exeter Medical School, said: “Congratulations to Andrew and Hanieh on these awards. Diabetes research at Exeter is making a meaningful difference to prevention, diagnosis and treatment in the region and across the world. I’m delighted to see our rising stars recognised in this way.”

Date: 21 June 2017