A/Prof Katherine Samaras and Prof Don Chisholm
Media Release: 29 October 2009
The Garvan Institute of Medical Research today announced Associate Professor Katherine Samaras as the new recipient of the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Don Chisholm Diabetes Research Fellowship. The Fellowship is dedicated to funding vital research into the causes, processes and treatments for Type 2 diabetes, one of Australia’s most common and serious diseases – and is named in honour of Professor Don Chisholm, who is recognised as a leader in clinical diabetes research.
Associate Professor Samaras will use the Research Fellowship to explore the link between obesity and diabetes, in particular she will examine the mechanisms by which weight loss improves type 2 diabetes. This research will be conducted through a trial that charts the progress of obese patients with diabetes, both prior to and following gastric-banding surgery.
“I am delighted Associate Professor Katherine Samaras is the 2009 recipient of the GSK Don Chisholm Fellowship,” said Professor Don Chisholm AO, Senior Principal Research Fellow at the Garvan.
“For the past 12 years, Associate Professor Samaras has been focused on improving health outcomes for Australians living with diabetes, by investigating the links between nutrition and weight loss. Receiving this Fellowship now means she can invest significant resources into uncovering important insights into reducing and managing diabetes in this country,” Professor Chisholm said.
A/Professor Samaras believes receiving the 2009 GSK Don Chisholm Fellowship will allow her and her team of researchers to determine how type 2 diabetes can be reversed in overweight and obese patients.
“Being awarded the Fellowship is a wonderful honour,” said A/Professor Samaras, Research Fellow and Head of the Diabetes and Obesity Clinical Studies Research Program at the Garvan.
“We need information to help doctors and patients understand who will benefit from gastric banding surgery. Our research will find what early markers in blood will predict which patients are the best candidates for surgery,” said A/Professor Samaras.
The GSK Don Chisholm Fellowship will also allow A/Professor Samaras and her team to explore the molecules that regulate blood sugar and how they can help to reverse diabetes in patients, giving researchers a better understanding of how this reversal process takes place and the time frame in which this can occur.
“Type 2 diabetes is considered a lifestyle disease, however this is not the case,” said A/Professor Samaras.
“Type 2 diabetes is in fact a genetic disease. Susceptible individuals will develop type 2 diabetes more rapidly if they carry excess weight.
“Our research, assisted through the GSK Don Chisholm Fellowship, will determine how we can best help people with Type 2 diabetes combat their disease and prevent it in those at risk” A/Professor Samaras concluded.
Diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease, with 275 people developing the condition every day. It is estimated that the total number of Australians currently living with diabetes is 1.7 million. By 2031, it is estimated that 3.3 million Australians will have type 2 diabetes.
About Associate Professor Katherine Samaras
Associate Professor Katherine Samaras is a senior staff specialist in endocrinology at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney and the Head of the Diabetes and Obesity Clinical Group, Diabetes Program at the Garvan Institute.
A/Professor Samaras is actively involved in translational diabetes and obesity research, examining the mechanisms by which weight interventions improves type 2 diabetes, providing insights into how this most common form of diabetes develops. She has over 70 published research papers and has held appointments at St Thomas' Hospital in London and the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
She has also been consulted by Federal Parliament for the Enquiry into Obesity and contributed to the NSW Greater Metropolitan Clinical Network's Obesity Plan.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is a research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare company committed to discovering and developing new medicines and vaccines to improve the quality of human life. For more information, please visit: www.gsk.com.au