Q&A with Nicola Jeffery, diabetes researcher
Published on June 7, 2019
With your support, Dr Nicola Jeffery was awarded her PhD in December by studying diabetes using animal free techniques. We caught up with her over a cup of coffee to see how she is settling in to her new research project.
Congratulations on achieving your doctorate degree! How does it feel to have made such a big breakthrough in diabetes research?
Thank you! It is very exciting and I feel very privileged to have been able to contribute to furthering diabetes research using animal free techniques.
What’s your next ambition?
As we identified how changes to the cells that make insulin contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes in our last project, we now aim to investigate this in much more detail. We hope to discover ways in which we could reverse or intervene in this process that could then be taken forward as future treatments.
This research is important because it explains the importance of lifestyle factors in the development of type 2 diabetes. This can potentially benefit patients by providing people with information so they can make informed lifestyle choices and by finding novel therapies for treating type 2 diabetes.
Why is animal free research so important to you?
One of our key findings showed that using human models of type 2 diabetes resulted in an entirely different response to what has been reported using mouse experiments. We know that there are many differences between mice and humans that are particularly relevant to type 2 diabetes and so using human models is essential to fully understand the disease.
What motivates you?
I love science and I really want to understand how lifestyle factors associated with type 2 diabetes affect the cells that make insulin, because this might make a real difference to the lives of people with this disease. Using effective human models for studying human disease makes good scientific sense and I also advocate this approach from an ethical point of view.
Where do you like to be when you’re not working?
When I’m not working, I’m usually planning my next adventure to the mountains. I’m a very keen cyclist, runner and skier and I love to head for the hills with my three dogs, Elsa, Nano and Colin.
The final word…
I would love to thank the Animal Free Research UK supporters who are contributing to some very exciting, cutting-edge science and enabling scientists like me to remove animals from research.
Read more about Nicola’s work here.