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Advancing the understanding of novel risks for diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease

Laboratory head: Associate Professor Dianna Magliano

The Diabetes and Population Health Laboratory conducts epidemiological research in the areas of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. The aim of the research is to build the evidence base around the novel risk factors of diabetes and obesity, and cardiovascular disease, in particular environmental toxicants, air pollution and viral infections. The unit is also interested in examining the more non-traditional associations of diabetes and other outcomes, such as the relationship between diabetes obesity, metabolic syndrome, hypertension and cancer.

Research focus

  • The role of environmental toxins in the development of chronic diseases (diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease).
  • Estimating the burden of the diabetes and obesity epidemics in Australia now and the future.
  • Diabetes in developing countries.
  • Diabetes, obesity and the development of cancer.
  • Diabetes and socio-economic status in Australia.


The role of environmental toxins in the development of chronic disease of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease in Australia

Diabetes, obesity and cancer in Australia

Diabetes in developing nations such as Mauritius

There are several key large projects which I have initiated and currently lead. These relate to two NHMRC Project Grants of which I am chief investigator A. The first one involves the pooling of 18 cohort Australian studies to study the relationship between diabetes, obesity and cancer. I have also established a collaboration with Diabetes Australia to examine the relationship between diabetes and cancer using the National Diabetes Service Scheme (the Australian diabetes registry). An NHMRC Project Grant provides funds to link the National Diabetes Service Scheme to the Australian cancer and death databases. Both of these datasets will be used characterise the relationship between diabetes and all cause and cause specific cancer.

I have received NHMRC funding to conduct a large scale study of environmental toxicants and chronic disease in collaboration with this group. For this project, we are interested in the role of bisphenol A in the development of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity in a large contemporary Australian study. Urine from 3000 Australians has been sent to the UK for testing of the environmental toxicant bisphenol A. With this data, we can determine whether those with higher levels of bisphenol A are more likely to develop diabetes than those without.


Vira Koshkina (Data Manager)
Venurs Loh (Research Assistant)
Jessica Harding (PhD Student/Research Assistant)

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With the rising number of Australians affected by diabetes, heart disease and stroke, the need for research is more critical than ever.

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