Functional Genomics of Type I Diabetes Complications

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Type 1 diabetes has an enormous impact on the quality of life for the ~140,000 people in Australia with this disease. In Australia type 1 diabetes is increasing at an annual rate of ~3%, a trend also seen worldwide. There is no cure for type 1 diabetes. 

At Garvan, Associate Professor Shane T. Grey and his team are studying the genes that contribute to type 1 diabetes at the functional level. This study will analyse the genes and the factors that lead to complications like kidney failure and hypoglycaemic unawareness.

By identifying not only the genes, but how their function changes in diabetics, this will lead to breakthroughs in understanding the disease. This may also lead to new prognostic markers and drug targets to treat type 1 diabetes.

Whole genome sequencing of type 1 diabetes

The Garvan Institute was one of the first to acquire technology that can sequence a whole human genome at low cost. This lets A/Prof Grey’s team fill a significant scientific gap: to be the first in the world to look at key genes and mutations that lead to complications in type 1 diabetes. 

With the aim of functionally annotating the gene changes in type 1 diabetes, A/Prof Grey has assembled an outstanding team of senior researchers from within the Garvan and nationally, including clinical leaders from Westmead Hospital’s Millennium Institute, The Children's Hospital at Westmead,  The Royal Adelaide Hospital, and experts from the Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, the Australian National University (ANU), as well as international leaders from New Zealand, USA and Canada.