The global prevalence of diabetes has almost doubled in the past 30 years and represents a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation. Current treatments for diabetes are not completely effective, and some are associated with adverse side effects. To meet this challenge, the Diabetes Research Group at Ulster conduct focused and world-leading research, that ultimately promises to result in impressive clinical benefits.
The Research Group activities are directed into four main themes, that include:
(i) insulin secretion and gene therapy,
(ii) antidiabetic actions of structurally modified peptides,
(iii) discovery, targets and action of antidiabetic drugs and
(iv) mechanisms of pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction.
To date, this ground-breaking work has resulted in a number of important research discoveries leading to development of a strong patent portfolio and intellectual property. Our continued growth offers new PhD students excellent opportunities within and across these various disciplines. Importantly, the track record of research training in diabetes at Ulster is exceptional. State-of-the-art equipment and expertise is available in a number of modern areas of biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology and peptide chemistry.
The Group provide a unique experience for innovative diabetes and biomedical training. A friendly team environment exists which has previously secured 100% PhD completion within 2-4 years registration. Work is conducted in an internationally recognised research environment, which places considerable emphasis on peer-reviewed publication, training and career progression. As such, the Group have an excellent research publication record, with many past students going on to take up leading positions in academia and industry within the field. In keeping with this, the Group has built an extensive range of external networks being the founder of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Islet Study Group and playing a pivotal role in the establishment of the EU-funded Islet Research European and Latin-American Networks.
In summary, the overall strategy of the Diabetes Research Group at Ulster includes undertaking and publishing research of national and international status, exploiting intellectual property and pursuing technology transfer, providing a supportive and high quality training environment to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and new skills. Taken together, undertaking your PhD studies within the world-renowned Diabetes Research Group at Ulster will offer you an unparalleled opportunity to progress your chosen career.
Biomedical Science at Ulster University has an outstanding record of success in research, having been awarded the highest possible rating in RAE1996 and 2001, and ranked first place in terms of research power in RAE2008. In REF2014, we were judged to be among the top five universities in terms of research power (out of 92 UK submissions) with 100% four star rating for our research environment.
Biomedical Sciences research activities are currently organized within distinct Research Groups: Diabetes, Food & Health (through Nutrition Innovation Centre for Food and Health (NICHE)), Genomic Medicine, Pharmaceutical Sciences & Practice, Stratified Medicine and Vision Science.
Multi-disciplinary collaboration between the research groups is strongly encouraged and is widespread with research into, for instance, anti-diabetic and antioncogenic aspects of nutrition, the genomics of vitamin receptors, visual deterioration or cancer, imaging of neovascularisation. Our research investigates the interaction between cardiovascular disease and vision and the impact of health and disease, diet, diabetes on dementia, hypertension, vascular and inflammatory disease, to name a few.
In practice, the research groups collaborate both internally and internationally on a range of prioritized multi-disciplinary themes in: ageing, drug discovery and delivery, personalized medicine and genomic medicine. There is also opportunity to undertake research in a number of multi-disciplinary research areas, which combine cutting edge Biomedical Sciences research with psychology, computing and engineering and computational biology. The BMSRI has strong collaborations with regional and global pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies and many of our graduates and postgraduates gain employment in the pharma, diagnostics and health care sectors as well as academia.
The BMSRI offers a "state-of-the-art" research environment for high profile researchers to undertake internationally agenda setting research in strategically prioritized areas of biomedicine. This research environment earned Biomedical Sciences at Ulster a No. 1 ranking in RAE2008, and was again rated as 100% "world-leading" in REF2014. Our research is carried out in well-equipped laboratories allowing the latest methods to be applied to individual projects. Our entire infrastructure is managed as Core Facility Units (CFUs) with equipment and laboratories dedicated to: advanced molecular bioimaging/microscopy, bioinformatics, cell biology, chemical analysis, genomics, proteomics/metabolomics (include Mass Spectrometry & NMR analysis), transgenics, physiology and pharmacology.
The BMSRI research infrastructure also includes centralized resources for: high throughput drug screening in vitro assays, clinical research & human intervention studies/ trials; the use and storage of mammalian cells and tissues; and in vivo studies in Animal reporter gene models and animal models that replicate human disease. The BMSRI uses its estate of equipment, specialist laboratories, infrastructure and internationally recognized biomedical expertise to offer clinical & translational services to Academic Researchers and Industrial Business partners. The BMSRI routinely engages in collaborative research with some of the world's leading pharmaceutical and biomedical companies and through the support of Ulster's Office of Innovation, the University has established a track record of success in the commercialization of its research outcomes.
The SAAD Centre for Pharmacy and Diabetes provides contemporary and state-of-the-art facilities to support our diabetes and metabolomics research activities, as well as facilities for mass spectrometric and NMR analysis. This building also provides infrastructural support for our newly launched pharmacy/pharmaceutical sciences courses and associated research activities. These include: the formulation and production of antimicrobials for pharmaceutical applications; health promotion in community pharmacies; and the discovery and development of novel therapeutics such as anti-cancer agents, luminescent and nanoparticle sensors, bioimaging, photo/sono-dynamic therapy, and polymeric and nanoparticle drug delivery systems.