Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic disease with global prevalence having increased from 30 million in 1985 to 220 million in 2010 (730% increase) and is projected to be 438 million in 2030 (World Health Organisation). The risk of all-cause mortality is 2-fold greater for those with diabetes and this is expected to double by 2030. These deaths are mainly related to cardiovascular disease (50%) and kidney failure (10-20%) but diabetes is also a leading contributor to blindness and non-traumatic amputations. The current trends are not sustainable in terms of cost or effective treatment, and are forecast to grow substantially in developing countries. Alternative strategies are required to target disease pathophysiology and, as 50% of those with diabetes are undiagnosed, earlier detection and intervention is essential. The research team in the NICB focuses on some of the most relevant aspects of diabetes research:

  1. Biomarkers that better predict the onset and progression of diabetes
  2. Metabolic regulation of the aetiology and pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes
  3. Islet transplant for type 1 diabetes


  1. To develop novel ‘personalised’ therapeutic strategies for the treatment of diabetes.

    The maintenance of normal blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes remains the major therapeutic challenge. We have a ‘personalised medicine’ programme to optimise clinical, pharmacological and lifestyle treatment options.

  1. To reduce the incidence of newly diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes.

    The prediction of the risk for T2D is inexact and typically relies on clinical parameters as well as on the estimation of both insulin resistance and insulin secretion. Simpler predictive methods are needed to detect those in the general population who are ‘silently’ at risk. We will identify novel diagnostic and predictive biomarkers using a range of high end –omic platform technologies (i) to detect the progression toward diabetes in high risk individuals and (ii) that are responsive to lifestyle interventions known to be effective in diabetes prevention.


Laura Breen: laura.breen@dcu.ie 

Donal O'Gormandonal.ogorman@dcu.ie

Click here to meet our Diabetes research group



  • Dowling P, Shields W, Rani S, Meleady P, Henry M, Jeppesen P, O'Driscoll L, Clynes M (2008) Proteomic analysis of conditioned media from glucose responsive and glucose non-responsive phenotypes reveals a panel of secreted proteins associated with beta cell dysfunction.  Electrophoresis. 29(20):4141-9

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