Published on 27 April 2022

Funding boost for research into the latest artificial pancreas technology for researcher at Swansea University

A Swansea University researcher’s pioneering work in the field of diabetes has helped earn her a major funding boost.

Dr Olivia McCarthy at Swansea University is part of a team investigating the latest artificial pancreas technology in people with type 1 diabetes who are performing exercise.

Dr McCarthy, a postgraduate research fellow, will continue work on the SMART study which is aimed at helping to develop guidelines for people living with type 1 diabetes to exercise safely using the newest insulin pumps.

Her work as part of the team investigating the latest artificial pancreas technology in people with type 1 diabetes who are performing exercise has just led to her winning a 600,000Kr grant (around £67,000) from the Danish Diabetes Association.

An artificial pancreas is a man-made device that is designed to release insulin in response to changing blood glucose levels in a similar way to a human pancreas. 

Dr McCarthy divides her time between the University’s Applied Sports, Technology, Exercise and Medicine (A-STEM) research programme and the Diabetes Technology Research at the Steno Diabetes Center in Copenhagen.

Picture of Dr Olivia McCarthy

Dr McCarthy said: “We hope that the information that we get from this will help people use their pumps safely and manage their glucose appropriately and in doing so empower them to get the benefit of exercise.

“Now when people want to do exercise with family or friends they have to think way in advance and become a mathematician and a dietitian. I hope that we will get to a point where we can remove all these stresses so people can exercise freely without the burdens and barriers that come along with diabetes.”

Professor Richard Bracken, from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, explained that the collaboration with Copenhagen had come about after initial help from St David's Medical Foundation (SDMF), the independent charity which raises funds to support ground-breaking work in Medical Research and Education at Swansea University.

Professor Bracken said: “The Diabetes Research Unit in Swansea University Medical School has raised significant funds for SDMF and it is great to see these being used to develop the career of a researcher in the field of diabetes.

“We are so pleased that Olivia's expertise has been recognised. This important research funding will allow her to continue to enhance her work on integrating diabetes technology around physical exercise, with Professor Kirsten Norgaard who leads the Diabetes Technology group at Steno and ourselves, at Swansea University.”

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