20 years of research celebrated

University of Glasgow Prof Mike Lean will speak at tomorrow’s Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research...
University of Glasgow Prof Mike Lean will speak at tomorrow’s Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre 20th anniversary event about a new treatment for type 2 diabetes. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A prominent University of Otago research centre is celebrating 20 years of research this week.

The Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre (EDOR) has played a major role in providing research evidence and contributing to the development of policy in the areas of diabetes and obesity, both nationally and internationally.

The centre was founded in 2003 through a gift from the Eion and Jan Edgar Charitable Trust, as part of the university’s Leading Thinkers initiative. Sir Eion was chair of the EDOR advisory board until his death in 2021.

The centre’s inaugural director Prof Sir Jim Mann, now co-director, was knighted last year for his decades of work demonstrating the links between nutrition and health.

He and fellow co-director Dr Andrew Reynolds have recently contributed to World Health Organisation and European nutrition guidelines for diabetes.

EDOR director Prof Rachael Taylor has received significant recognition for her research on how sleep, diet and activity affect weight management in children, and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi earlier this year.

As well as celebrating centre achievements, EDOR researchers are also thinking about the challenges that lie ahead.

EDOR researcher and co-director Dr Justine Camp (Kai Tahu, Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha) has been organising hui with communities to help develop the centre’s vision for the next twenty years.

"While EDOR has always included communities in their research studies, the key to really making a difference is co-designing research in partnership with communities, developing the studies with them and for them."

The anniversary symposium, to be held tomorrow in Dunedin, will feature a range of talks by EDOR researchers and community members, covering topics on nutrition, sleep, obesity and diabetes.

Keynote speaker University of Glasgow Prof Mike Lean was at the opening of the centre and is returning to talk about his ground-breaking work on the remission of type 2 diabetes.

The DiRECT approach, a dietitian-supported weight loss programme, is being rolled out to all eligible people with type 2 diabetes in England.

Drs Reynolds and Camp are leading the first New Zealand trial of the DiRECT approach in Ōtepoti Dunedin, and a larger trial is being planned.

 - The EDOR 20th anniversary symposium will be held at the Hutton Theatre, Tūhura Otago Museum, tomorrow. For more information, email diabetes@otago.ac.nz