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Waging war on diabetes

7 March 2013
A generous donation could mean a new future for diabetes research

A scientist researching the genetics of type 2 diabetes and a published author and children's advocate are linked by a common goal - supporting inspirational research.

Jennie Mackenzie and Dr Melkam Kebede

Jennie Mackenzie and Dr Melkam Kebede

Author and educator Jennie Mackenzie has enjoyed a long and distinguished career working with children and families. She has worked in the media as well as in parks and city planning. She was the early childhood adviser for radio, television and associated projects at the ABC, where she produced and directed television shows, including Play School.

Dr Melkam Kebede is researching the relationship between obesity and type 2 diabetes at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre. Her position as an early career researcher, and therefore her research, is only possible thanks to Jennie’s philanthropic support.

When Jennie met Melkam in 2015, Melkam described her work on the function of genes in diabetes. “It is well established that obesity causes insulin resistance,” Melkam says. “Using forward genetics and genome-wide association studies, several type 2 diabetes associated genes have been identified.”

Melkam’s research focuses on understanding the role of the genes associated with type 2 diabetes in pancreatic beta-cell function (the cells of the pancreas that store and release insulin).

Supporting Melkam and her research means a great deal to Jennie. “I’m in a position where I am able to do something good,” she says. “By giving to the Charles Perkins Centre, I hope that I can play a role in supporting the next generation of researchers to find new treatments and cures for some of society’s most devastating diseases.”

Find out more about Dr Melkam Kebede’s project.

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