Dr Alexander Viardot
Media Release: 17 October 2008
The Garvan Institute of Medical Research today concluded a global search for the right candidate to take up the GlaxoSmithKline Don Chisholm Diabetes Research Fellowship – a position dedicated to vital research into the causes of Type 2 diabetes, one of Australia’s most common and serious diseases.
Dr Alexander Viardot, a specialist in endocrinology and internal medicine, who completed his medical training in Europe and moved to Australia to pursue leading research into diabetes, has been awarded the first 12-month fellowship.
“I am thrilled to have been selected for this prestigious award, and excited to be able to continue my association with the Garvan Institute - one of the world’s leading medical research institutions,” Dr Viardot said.
“While our knowledge about Type 2 diabetes has expanded significantly in recent years, we do not yet fully understand how and why it develops,” he said.
“Our intention is to find the molecular toolbox that will predict when the disease is going to occur and to develop more effective treatments to stop the disease from progressing much earlier on. This will be a significant breakthrough for people with a family history of Type 2 diabetes.”
Since May 2004, Dr Viardot has been working as a postgraduate research fellow as part of the Garvan’s Diabetes and Obesity Research Program.
The Fellowship’s patron, Professor Don Chisholm, said it was testament to Australia’s status as one of the global leaders in diabetes research that an Australian-based scientist had been awarded the Fellowship.
“Applicants were assessed from around the world for this position so to have a local winner with established links with the Garvan demonstrates the Institute’s ability to attract the world’s best researchers and shows Australia is leading the way for scientific discoveries internationally.”
In Australia, nearly one million people are affected by Type 2 diabetes, with 55,000 more being diagnosed each year, a number predicted to rise progressively over the next decade - particularly as a result of the increasing numbers of obese Australians.
Diabetes is linked to a number of serious complications including kidney failure, amputations, blindness and heart disease. Almost 12,000 deaths in Australia are associated with Type 2 diabetes every year.
The Fellowship is being funded for two years by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline as part of its commitment to diabetes research, prevention and cure.