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Mechanism of the effect of diabetes on the inflammation and subsequent fibrosis


In our laboratory we are investigating the effects of diabetes on the inflammatory response and the initiation of fibrosis and the relationship between these changes and the development of diabetic complications. Understanding the mechanism of this change has potential for development of biomarkers for disease progression as well as new therapeutic strategies.


Dr Susan McLennan.

Research location

Camperdown - School of Medical Sciences - Bosch Institute

Program type



Despite excellent treatment strategies the complications of diabetes affect many persons with diabetes. It is well recognised that the development of diabetes related complications is largely dependent on the level of hyperglycaemia and the length of time tissues have been exposed. The mechanisms that govern the development of diabetic complications are complex and not yet fully understood, but they are known to involve increased inflammation which ultimately leads to an increase in fibrosis and damage to organs such as kidney, liver, heart and eyes. In our laboratory we have focused our studies on a group of enzymes called Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs). These enzymes are proteolytic enzymes which play an important role in regulation of normal wound repair but are also upregulated in many fibrotic conditions. We also have evidence that diabetes can affect the circulating immune cells and hypothesize that this may have a role in the change in expression and activity of these in enzymes.

The available projects will be focussed in the following areas:
i) The role of MMPs in normal and abnormal wound healing in particular in diabetic wounds
ii) The effect of diabetes on circulating inflammatory factors and their association with the development of diabetic complications
iii) The abnormalities of the MMP system in NASH

Additional information

Approaches: Cell culture, animal models and clinical samples will be studies using a variety of techniques including molecular biology, biochemistry, pathology, cell biology, immunology.

Techniques: quantitative RT-PCR, gene expression techniques, microscopy, histopathology, cell culture, flow cytometry.

Other Information: Dr McLennans Laboratory has access to first class facilities. Her research group contains 1 postdoctoral fellow, 2 PhD students and a full time Research Assistant.Scholarships: The opportunity is available primarily for prospective PhD students. Honours degree is required. Applicant is expected to apply for PhD scholarship.

Other PhD and Honours Projects are available, or can be negotiated.

The project may be adjusted to an Honours Project

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 1628

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