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Prestigious MRC fellowship for George Institute researcher

The George Institute’s Dr Sanne Peters has been awarded a prestigious Strategic Skills Development Fellowship from the UK’s Medical Research Council.

This fellowship aims to support early career researchers looking to develop new skills in one of the MRC’s priority areas. Dr Peters has received £415,000 over four years to strengthen her research skills in genetic epidemiology and health systems research. She will use the grant to conduct a big data analysis of sex differences in the vascular consequences of diabetes.

This follows her recent grant in October 2016 from the British Heart Foundation to explore sex differences in how diabetes affects the risk of heart attack and stroke.

“I am very grateful to the MRC for this fellowship. The MRC is very competitive and this is a very big opportunity to develop new skills and to advance my career as a researcher,” said Dr Peters.

“Diabetes is a major chronic condition and substantially increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. There is strong evidence that the excess risks of heart disease and stroke conferred by diabetes are substantially stronger in women than men. At present, we don’t know why this happens. With this research, I aim to find out why women seem to be more disadvantaged by diabetes than men.” Her research will help improve the prevention and treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.  

Women’s health is a key area of research for The George Institute. In February 2016, The George Institute and Oxford Martin School called for global and national women’s health strategies to focus on non-communicable diseases, which kill more than 18 million women a year worldwide.

“Traditionally, most studies were done among predominantly male populations. It was assumed that research findings from such studies were equally relevant for women,” said Dr Peters.

“Now there are more women included in studies, we increasingly start to see that there are clinically meaningful differences between men and women across all areas of health and disease.

“Sex differences therefore need to be routinely considered across all areas of health and medicine. Better insight into these differences and similarities between sexes could not only improve the understanding of diseases, but could also guide health practitioners and policy makers in making the best decisions for the prevention and treatment of diseases This benefits both men and women.”