Diabetes SA Research Grants Program

Diabetes SA is delighted to report that 18 applications have been received in the Diabetes SA Research Grants Program

The Board of Diabetes SA are pleased to announce the appointment of the following co-opted specialist advisors who will join the Diabetes SA Research Sub-Committee to review applications received in the second round of the Diabetes SA Research Grants Program.

Dr Anthony Roberts

Senior Consultant Endocrine and Metabolic Unit and a Coordinator for the Thyroid and Parathyroid Clinic at the RAH; Endocrinologist; Principal Investigator at SA Endocrine Research Pty Ltd

Dr Anthony Roberts is currently the Medical Coordinator of the Royal Adelaide Hospital’s Thyroid and Parathyroid Clinic. He is a Principal Investigator of SA Endocrine Research Pty Ltd and has conducted over two hundred international clinical trials. He is very committed to post graduate teaching and give numerous lectures each year. His areas of interest include type 1 and type 2 diabetes specifically – insulin pump therapy, continuous glucose monitoring, diabetes related complications, diabetes in pregnancy and new agents available in clinical trials. Other areas of interest include adrenal disorders, thyroid and parathyroid disorders, osteoporosis, Paget’s bone disease, gender identity disorder, pituitary disorders and male hypogonadism. Dr Anthony Roberts is the Honorary Consultant Endocrinologist for the Association and regularly gives of his time to support the Association including the awarding of Kellion medals to South Australian recipients at the Annual General Meeting of Diabetes SA.

“Diabetes affects a diverse age range of people across the world. Those who have diabetes, and their families, experience significant physical, emotional and financial health concerns.

“Supporting diabetes research is vitally important for the whole community, as such research will make day-to-day life for people with diabetes easier.

“It is my great pleasure to assist Diabetes SA as we assess 18 outstanding applications for funding. This is a rigorous and painstaking process and we have an excellent team in place. I guarantee your investment in this research will make a difference in future treatment and education.”

- Dr Anthony Roberts

Dr David Jesudason

Director of Diabetes & Endocrinology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital

David is the Director of Diabetes & Endocrinology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and a former Director of Endocrinology for Country Health SA. David has a strong interest in treating diabetes in the Aboriginal population and provides visiting services to the Aboriginal Community Controlled Centres in Ceduna, Port Augusta, Coober Pedy and Yalata. He is the co-chair of the Diabetes Leadership Group of the South Australian Aboriginal Chronic Disease Consortium. David’s clinical and research interests are in the areas of diabetes and bone disease. He is the lead investigator at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital of the large NHMRC sponsored T4DM (Testosterone therapy to prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus in at risk men) which was completed recently with a report due in 2020. Of recent David has formed a research collaboration to study the drug safety of the SGLT2 inhibitor class of drugs for diabetes. David has a strong interest in osteoporosis and bone density reporting and has contributed to national guidelines on osteoporosis management. David is delighted to be accepted as a member of the Diabetes SA Research Sub-Committee and stated that “if we are to continue to improve our understanding of diabetes and provide better treatment for our patients, it is vital we fund as much research as possible in South Australia. Diabetes SA and its supporters should be congratulated for making these generous grants available to help all of our patients with diabetes.”

Professor Toby Coates

Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Adelaide; Full-time Clinician Scientist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Renal Transplant Nephrologist

Toby is a full-time clinician-scientist in the Central Northern Adelaide Renal and Transplantation Service at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and a Renal Transplant Nephrologist, and a Clinical Professor in Medicine at the University of Adelaide. He undertook his PhD in Transplant Immunology at the University of Adelaide supported by National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Post Graduate Medical Research Scholarship (1997-2000), Don and Lorraine Jacquot Travelling Fellowship and Post-Doctoral studies with Angus Thomson at the Thomas E Starzl Institute at the University of Pittsburgh supported by a CJ Martin Fellowship from the NHMRC (2001-2003). Returned to Adelaide in July 2003 as Renal Transplant Nephrologist. He is past Honorary Secretary of the Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand. His total research funding since 1st July 2003 is over $13 million, including 2 CIA project grants from the NHMRC and Project grant funding from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) for Clinical Islet Transplantation. In June 2016 he received JDRF USA funding for development of alternative sites for islet transplantation and was appointed to the International JDRF Islet Encapsulation Consortium. He is currently the Director of South Australia’s first (and only) Nationally Funded Centre for Islet Transplantation and the Head of Kidney and Pancreas Islet Transplantation at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. In 2013 he was the lead clinical investigator in the $59 million Collaborative Research Centre for Cell Therapy Manufacturing (CRC-CTM) to manufacture new technologies to support islet transplantation (2013-2018). He is passionate about developing beta cell replacement therapy for diabetes treatment and is an active clinician involved in care of patients with diabetes and renal involvement.

Professor Jennifer Couper

Head of Diabetes & Endocrinology Department at
the Women’s & Children’s Hospital

Jennifer is a paediatric endocrinologist who directs the Diabetes and Endocrinology Department at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide and the Discipline of Paediatrics at the University of Adelaide. Jennifer also leads the National Health and Medical Research Council JDRF Centre for Research Excellence for the Protection of Pancreatic Beta Cells and the national ENDIA (Environmental Determinants of type 1 diabetes) consortium.

Dr Helen Banwell

Director International Centre for Allied Health Evidence; Podiatrist

Dr Helen Banwell is a lecturer in podiatry at the University of South Australia with over 20+ years’ experience teaching, working and researching in lower limb concerns, including those related to diabetes and diabetes-related foot disease. As an active member of the Podiatry profession, Helen has held many titles, including as a member of the Advocacy Committee for the Australian Podiatry Association, a consultant podiatrist Correctional Services SA and Diabetes SA (2004 to 2008) and held the academic role for the Podiatry Board of South Australia (prior to nationalisation). With previous clinical positions in public hospitals ‘high-risk’ foot clinics and a continuing position in her own private practice, Helen has vast experience in identifying and managing foot complications too often associated with diabetes. Helen’s recent appointment as the director of the International Centre for Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE) is allowing her to use this experience to develop research that aims to make real differences in the health of people with diabetes. She looks forward to the contribution and learning opportunities the grant panel will afford.

This is an exciting time for the Association and we are very grateful to the experts who have given of their time to be part of the committee in a voluntary capacity.

These five co-opted specialist advisors along with Vice Presidents Monika Kruger and Geoff Weeks will review applications in terms of fit to priority research areas, the ability for the project to be completed in two years or less, the potential timeframes for outcomes of research to be implemented and the extent of involvement of other funding sources.

Applications will be reviewed from late January until early March 2020 followed by a meeting of the Research Sub-Committee on 10 March with recommendations provided to the Board on 24 March and a final decision by 10 April 2020. 

Changing the future through research

In 2018 the Association launched the inaugural Diabetes SA Research Grants Program and awarded $270,750 to six researchers in South Australia and in 2020 this has been increased to $300,000.

Our vision is to fund more research through the Diabetes SA Research Grants program, enabling us to change the future through research.

Whilst we can do so much, we do also need your support and the support of the wider community including our government organisations to ensure that we can continue to fund the Diabetes SA Research Grants program and grow research funding into the future. 

Donate today

The key Diabetes SA priority areas are:

  • The investigation of new and innovative ways of treatment and management of diabetes and/or complications.
  • The psychosocial/behavioural consequences of diabetes at an individual or community level.
  • The use of digital technologies to improve understanding of self-management of diabetes and/or enhance the delivery of self-management education in rural/remote areas of South Australia.
  • The role nutrition and exercise play in diabetes management.
  • The design and delivery of innovative healthcare systems.

Key outcomes of this research will be to provide better outcomes to people at risk or living with diabetes.