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Blizard Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Barts Diabetes & Metabolic Research Group

The Joint QMUL & Barts Health NHS Trust Diabetes Research Group is located within the Centre for Genomics and Child Health in the Blizard Institute and is managed by Dr Gillian Hood and Professor William Alazawi our Clinical Lead. Our group of clinicians, nurses, and allied health professionals work on numerous NIHR portfolio commercial and academic studies in both T1 and T2 Diabetes, diabetes prevention, management, obesity and liver studies.

The Diabetes Research Group is well known as a high recruiting study team in England for diabetes studies on the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) portfolio.  This remarkable success is due to the hard-working enthusiasm of our team, our research database resources, and, also, our patient and public involvement and engagement work. 

Barts Diabetes & Obesity Research Group image
In keeping with the Institute’s strategies, we have developed partnerships with other NHS Trusts, Universities, Community groups, and Charities. We have raised awareness of diabetes and diabetes research through various local events to build collaborations and develop innovative ways of reaching people with diabetes. This includes our Diabetes Research Lay Panel Group

Diabetes, Immunology and Hepatology Studies

The Diabetes Research Group has a broad portfolio of studies. We undertake both clinical trials and questionnaire/qualitative research. Our current portfolio is listed below:

Data Base Studies

ADDRESS-2 (After Diabetes Diagnosis REsearch Support System-2)

This is a register for people with Type 1 Diabetes who can be contacted about future studies.  There are approximately 8000 people on the data base.

DARE  (Diabetes Alliance for Research in England)

This is a register for all types of diabetes and a repository for people to be contacted about future studies.  There are over 8000 people on this data base. The study is now closed to recruitment.

To mark the success of DARE and ADDRESS-2 databases we held a special engagement event for 120 members in November 2018 at Whitechapel. There were presentations, audience interactive sessions, and a diabetes art exhibition.

Type 1 Studies


This is to establish a resource to facilitate enrolment into future type 1 diabetes studies through the collection of data and blood samples from people with type 1 diabetes within 6 months of diagnosis.


This is a clinical trial aiming to reprogramme the immune system using immunotherapy treatment. This treatment has a potential to stop the progression of T1D in people who are newly diagnosed, within 9 weeks of diagnosis. The study is now closed to recruitment.


This study uses an existing medication, a blood pressure tablet, to see whether it has an additional property of reducing the attack on the immune system.

Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes

The HbA1c Variation Study

This study aims to help to understand the relationship between HbA1c and average glucose, in a wide range of people.  It involves wearing glucose sensors and regular blood tests for six months.

Type 2 Studies

Studies in collaboration with immunology

SENgen Study

This study investigates how the immune system affects type 2 diabetes.  The research team are interested in a type of cell (called a CD8 T cell) which seems to increase in numbers as people get older, especially if they have type 2 diabetes.  The research aims to characterise the number of aged CD8 T cells in people with diabetes and investigate whether such cells might respond to new treatments.

The Role of Inflammation in the Development of Metabolic Disease

This aims to understand the link between inflammation and metabolism in people with genetic variants in genes involved in inflammation, working in collaboration with East London Genes.

Studies in collaboration with hepatology (recruiting from hospital clinics)

NAFLD (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in People with Type 2 Diabetes)

This affects three-quarters of people with Type 2 Diabetes and is influenced by diet, lifestyle, sleep, genetics, mouth bacteria and the immune system. The study aims to identify patients at risk of liver disease, so that treatment can be targeted at those who need it before the development of serious complications.


This involves a urine test that measures natural steroid hormones, in order to provide an accurate reflection of how the liver is functioning in patients with NAFLD.  Ultimately, in the future this test may be an alternative to performing a liver biopsy.

Bio Resource

This study is part of NIHR Bio-resources and plans to characterise novel clinical and genetic phenotype: and understand the natural history of NAFLD.  This will be focusing on participants who specifically have a diagnosis NAFLD. The aim is to help research into the causes of this condition and understand if there are any indicators or patterns that can be linked to NAFLD severity and treatment response.


This involves 5 practices in Bristol and 5 practices in East London. This will involve a blood test to be taken for people with T2D at their annual review in primary care, to identify any cases of liver disease.  If the result of a blood test is high then the patients will be asked to have a FibroScan to assess their liver health, should they wish.  The FibroScan will either be conducted in a GP practice or in a hospital clinic.

AdipoNASH and Multimodal

These studies are very similar, both involve patients that are having planned bariatric surgery, and who invariably have fatty liver disease. The studies aim to learn more about NAFLD and ways of identifying patients at risk of progressive liver disease, so that early treatment can be started.

For further information, please email manager of our group – Dr Gill Hood, at or ring 0207 882 8610,

Major research grants:

GIFTS: Genomic and lifestyle predictors of foetal outcome relevant to diabetes and obesity and their relevance to prevention strategies in South Asian peoples. EU FP7, 3 million Euros, 2012-6. Co-ordinator Hitman

  1. BLUEPRINT Project: Epigenetics of Type 1 Diabetes in Identical Twins EU FP7. WP leader Leslie
  2. COMBAT Type 1: To examine the effect of blockade of immunological co-stimulation on auto-reactive T cells in type 1 diabetes. PI Leslie
  3. TOGETHER study: Can group clinics deliver better care to young adults with diabetes? NIHR HS+DR 15/25/20, £382,000, 2016-2019 CI Finer
  4. Patient Managed Decision-Support using Bayesian Networks (PAMBAYESIAN). EPSRC grant, PI Norman Fenton CoPIs: Marsh, Morrissey, Neil, Curzon, Alomainy, Hitman, Patel, Humby, Collier, Huda, Brown. EPSRC £1,539,497 May 2017-April 2020 Grant number EP/P009964/1
  5. Identification of barriers to effective diabetes management for people with severe mental illness (SMI): Development work for an intervention to improve diabetes healthcare and self-care in SMI. Mulligan K, McBain H, Simpson A, Priebe S, Haddad M, Hitman GA, Hull S, Hilton N,Jones J, Flood C Newman S. Bart and The London Charity. Grant Reference Number: 477/2314 £33,594.00 2015-2016
  6. Glucose Lowering In Non-diabetic hyperglycaemia Trial (GLINT)? HTA NIHR. Giffin S, Wareham N, Simmons R, Sharp S, Davies M, Khunti K, Hitman GA, Rutter M, Holman R, Greaves C, Millward A, Evans P, Sattar N, Petrie J, Gray A. £625,008 for pilot. QMUL does not get any money from the pilot; end date Dec 2016
  7. Prevention of Diabetes Complications in people with Hyperglycaemia in Europe; FP7-HEALTH-2011-two-stage. Co-ordinating person J Tuomilehto. GAH contribution is genetics £98,000 2012-31st Dec 2017
  8. Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease – Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation – Dr Will Alazawi
  9. Diabetes and Kidney Disease. Prof Magdi Yaqoob Barts and The London Charity £4million
  10. Action on sugar Prof Graham MacGregor,

Research support and delivery team

Dr Gillian Hood
Diabetes Research Manager, QMUL/ Barts Health NHS Trust

Melanie Pattrick
Senior Research Nurse, QMUL/ Barts Health NHS Trust

Caroline Sutcliffe
Research Nurse, QMUL/ Barts Health NHS Trust

Noorshad Joti
Research Practitioner, QMUL/ Barts Health NHS Trust

Anne Worthington
Research Co-ordinator, QMUL/ Barts Health NHS Trust

Zalak Udeshi
Research Administrator, QMUL/ Barts Health NHS Trust

Core academic team 

Professor William Alazawi
Centre for Immunobiology, Blizard Institute, QMUL

Professor Graham A Hitman
Emeritus Professor of Molecular Medicine and Diabetes
Hon Consultant Physician, Barts Health NHS Trust

Professor David Leslie
Professor of Diabetes and Autoimmunity / Centre Lead, Centre for Immunobiology

Professor Paolo Pozzilli
Professor of Diabetes and Clinical Research

Dr Sarah Finer
Honorary Consultant in Diabetes. Clinical Reader in Diabetes

Key Clinical Colleagues

Dr Karl Metcalfe
Consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology. Barts Health Diabetes Network Lead. Barts Health NHS Trust

Dr Tahseen Chowdhury
Consultant in Diabetes. Bart’s Health NHS Trust

Ms Anne Claydon
Nurse Consultant in Diabetes. Barts Health NHS Trust

Dr Philippa Hanson
Consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology. Barts Health NHS Trust

Dr Bobby Huda
Consultant in Diabetes and Metabolic Medicine. Bart’s Health NHS Trust

QMUL/Barts Health NHS Trust Diabetes Research Group
Room 3.02, Abernethy Building 3rd Floor,
QMUL Blizard
4 Newark St
E1 2AT
Tel: 02078828610

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