Pilot Projects


Research is why we exist; the research we fund has a significant and positive impact on the future of diabetes. We support a variety of research endeavours that are achieving real results. From Islet cells to student funding, we are at the leading edge of diabetes research.
The Alberta Diabetes Institute: A Leader in Diabetes Research
Dr. Peter Light: Alberta Diabetes Institute Director
The Alberta Diabetes Institute (ADI) is a world-class diabetes research facility, unique within Canada. The ADI provides desperately needed research space – all of which is aimed at finding a cure. As a world-class collaborative facility, ADI will attract and retain the very best research scientists and clinicians, while providing a training center for medical and graduate students who will be the leaders of tomorrow.

The 200,000 square foot Institute was established in 2007 as a stand-alone facility to consolidate the University’s outstanding collection of diabetes researchers and their trainees. We at the Alberta Diabetes Foundation support the Institute through research funding and support, so that breakthrough research is not stalled. The Institute offers state-of-the-art facilities in support of research that includes cellular and molecular studies, preclinical/clinical research, population health and health outcomes studies. 

Islet Research: Dimmer Switch Breakthrough

Dr Patrick MacDonald and his team at the Alberta Diabetes Institute IsletCore have made a very important breakthrough in type 2 diabetes. They have identified a new pathway that controls insulin production from pancreatic islet cells.

This pathway acts as the ‘dimmer switch’ to determine how much insulin comes out once these cells are ‘turned on’.
Scientists have been trying to solve the mystery of the ‘dimmer switch’ for over 20 years. They have found that this dimmer switch is broken in the cells of type 2 diabetics but can be fixed so that diabetic cells work the same as healthy cells.

The ability to restore and fix the dimmer switch in islet cells has been proven on a molecular level but the there will be a challenge to translate these findings into clinical use. The Alberta Diabetes Foundation has a 7 year, $100,000 commitment with Dr MacDonald to support his research in this field of study and Dr MacDonald believes the findings show a important new way forward.

Clinical Trials: Participate in a Study

The Alberta Diabetes Institute’s Clinical Research Unit serves as a place where basic and clinical scientists work together to perform studies that incorporate translational research (the process of making research findings benefit patients) resulting in meaningful health outcomes. The Clinical Research Unit, along with skilled researchers and coordinators, will provide a welcoming and proficient setting for participants to volunteer in groundbreaking research studies.

Find out more information on active clinical trials.

Student Fellowships

Supporting the researchers of the future means that new, potentially life-changing diabetes research is being funded. Research proposals were reviewed and applicants were chosen based on a clear project outline with objectives that complement the ongoing research activities of the Supervisor. Awards are for a one-year term. 

2016 ADI Studentship Awards
Three students were awarded funds worth a total of $52,000 towards their research projects. The students were supervised by Alberta Diabetes Institute members. 

Enezi Khalid

Hypothalamic glucocorticoid action in in-vivo glucose metabolism

Supervisor: YUE

Awarded: $25,000

Amina Eshreif

Attenuating skeletal muscle ketone body oxidation to treat obesity-induced insulin resistance

Supervisor: USSHER

Awarded: $25,000

John Kennelly

Altering intestinal phosphatidylcholine synthesis for protection against diet-induced metabolic syndrome

Supervisor: JACOBS

Awarded: $2,000 (Research allowance)
2016 ADI Studentship Awards
Funding worth a total of $29,909 was awarded in support of six summer students who were supervised by Alberta Diabetes Institute members. Research proposals were reviewed and applicants were chosen based on a clear project outline with objectives that complement the ongoing diabetes research activities of the Supervisor.

Kieran Purich

Optimization of biomaterial used to create the device-less transplant site

Supervisor: A.M.J Shapiro

Awarded: $5600

Xiaoyang (Amy) Du

Resveratrol-mediated changes in the gut microbiota and insulin-resistance

Supervisor: J. Dyck

Awarded: $5600

Jennifer Croden

Autophagy as a survival mechanism by human islets treated with cyanide-3-O-glucoside

Supervisor: G. Rayat

Awarded: $5600

Hillary Wilson

The link between gestational diabetes and perinatal depression: the role of nutrient status

Supervisor: C. Field

Awarded: $5600

Leah Rusnell

Encapsulation of neonatal porcupine islets for clinical transplantation 

Supervisor: G. Korbutt

Awarded: 5600

Matthew Waggoner

Student did not apply for ADI summer studentship but received ADI summer studentship funding as per Drs. Vince Rogers/ R. Yeung

Supervisor: R. Yeung

Awarded: $1909
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