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Dr Hanieh Yaghootkar

Exeter researcher wins prestigious diabetes research award

An Exeter researcher has just been awarded £362,337 from leading charity Diabetes UK to understand if certain genes can protect people from developing Type 2 diabetes.

Dr Hanieh Yaghootkar who works at the University of Exeter Medical School has been awarded Diabetes UK’s R D Lawrence Fellowship, set up in recognition of the life and work of the late Dr R D Lawrence, co-founder of Diabetes UK.

It was as a medical student in her native Iran that Dr Yaghootkar realised that diagnosing and treating patients was not enough for her. She decided to become a researcher in genetics in a bid to determine the root cause of medical disorders.

In her Diabetes UK-funded work, Dr Yaghootkar will study genes which influence the way we store fat in order to understand why some obese people are protected from developing Type 2 diabetes. She hopes that knowing why certain people have this natural protection may help to develop better treatments and prevention strategies in the future.

Dr Hanieh Yaghootkar said: “I am extremely honoured to receive the RD Lawrence Fellowship from Diabetes UK. I’m very much looking forward to getting my research underway. I hope that finding genes involved in reducing the risk of Type 2 will provide useful insights into how to treat or prevent the condition in the future.”

When not at work in Exeter, Dr Yaghootkar enjoys hiking on Dartmoor, travelling and music.

Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said: “This Fellowship highlights our commitment to investing in the future leaders of diabetes research. Dr Yaghootkar’s research is key to understanding Type 2 diabetes better and finding novel treatment and prevention strategies. By funding critical research like this, we want to prevent yet more people developing this potentially life-threatening condition and we’re aiming for a world where diabetes can do no harm.”

Diabetes UK is the leading charitable funder of diabetes research in the UK, investing around £7 million every year. The Diabetes UK RD Lawrence Fellowship allows outstanding early career researchers to establish themselves as independent diabetes researchers.

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Date: 26 July 2017