The DCU sign lights up blue for World Diabetes Day
World Diabetes Day DCU Sign
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DCU turns blue to mark World Diabetes Day

Dublin City University is marking World Diabetes Day (today, November 14th) and will recognise the achievements of DCU’s diabetes researchers by illuminating the DCU sign blue.

The University joins with thousands of activities to mark World Diabetes Day on November 14th in more than 100 countries around the world.

The colour blue comes from the blue circle logo, which is the symbol of the World Diabetes Day campaign. The blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes awareness. It signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes epidemic.

As well as recognising the day, the university is also acknowledging the work of DCU’s student and staff community in this area, as well as the achievements of DCU’s diabetes research community, based in the University’s Faculty of Health and Science.

Diabetes mellitus is a lifelong condition caused by a lack of or insufficient amount of insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone that allows our cells to absorb sugar (glucose). For people with diabetes, their pancreas makes too little insulin to enable all the sugar in the blood to get into our muscles and other cells to produce energy.

This university is home to a vibrant community active in diabetes research. Among those projects are:


Dr Donal O’Gorman and colleagues at the National Institute for Cellular Biology at DCU have been working on a number of projects to prevent the progression of diabetes in high risk individuals. DEXLIFE is an EU funded project working to identify novel diagnostic and predictive biomarkers to detect the progression toward diabetes in high risk individuals and that are responsive to lifestyle interventions known to be effective in diabetes prevention.


This is a study to examine the early changes in metabolism that result from physical inactivity. These changes precede the development of insulin resistance and the very early changes that can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Diabetic retinopathy

Funded by SFI, and led by Dr. Keith Rochfort and Dr. Phil Cummins, this study has been investigating a powerful new therapeutic approach for retinopathy, which entails viral delivery of an engineered growth factor into the eye.

Diabetic retinopathy is a key disabling feature of Type-1 and Type-2 Diabetes in which the capillaries of the inner retina becomes ischemic and dysfunctional. It is now considered the main global cause of blindness in working-age individuals.

This research is being carried out in collaboration with Queens' University Belfast and the University of Utah Moran Eye Centre.

Self-Management and Family focused treatment

Prof. Veronica Lambert from the School of Nursing, Psychotherapy and Community Health and Prof. Pamela Gallagher from the School of Psychology are carrying out a national project in collaboration with Children’s Health Ireland at Temple Street and Diabetes Ireland, funded by the Health Research Board. The purpose of this research is to identify the evidence base for the design of a family focused intervention to support parent-adolescent communication and negotiation of shared self-management responsibilities with adolescents (11-17 years) with type 1 diabetes.


Prof. Paul Cahill in the School of Biotechnology is part of a collaborative EU Interreg funded project called Eastern Corridor Medical Engineering Centre (ECME) in cardiovascular biology. Diabetes is a prime risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) due to high blood sugar levels (also called blood glucose). Extracellular vesicles (EVs) carry proteins and miRNAs between cells. A large amount of evidence now suggests that EVs generated and released from endothelial cells in arteries play a pivotal role in cell communication during the progression of CVD. In particular, ongoing research suggests that vascular endothelial cells exposed to high glucose levels secrete EVs that enter target cells and alter their function. Using human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived endothelial cells, the project addresses the role of hyperglycemia (high glucose levels) in modulating the release of EVs and how they subsequently impact on both hiPSC-derived vascular smooth muscle cell and hiPSC-derived neuroectoderm progenitor stem cell differentiation and fate, respectively. Changes in the function and behaviour of these cells is fundamental to diabetic induced-vascular pathology.


Dr David McManus, from DCU’s School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, is working on research aimed at improving the lives of those living with diabetes and relieve the burden of insulin-induced lipohypertrophy. The research is conducted in collaboration with Becton Dickinson & Co.

Lastly, DCU is co-organising the 8th Annual 3U Diabetes meeting will be held on the 17th January 2020 in RCSI. The registration link is:

World Diabetes Day is celebrated on November 14th to mark the birthday of Sir Frederick Grant Banting FRS, who was born on November 14th, 1891.

Banting and Charles Best are the co-discoverers of the pancreatic hormone insulin and its therapeutic use for the effective treatment of diabetes.

At the age of just 32, Banting shared the 1923 Nobel prize for Physiology and Medicine.

To this day, multiple daily insulin injections remain the only form of treatment available to type 1 diabetes (T1D) sufferers.

Today, more than 400 million people around the world have diabetes, 10pc of whom live with T1D, including some 20,000 people in Ireland.

These figures are rising at an alarming rate (

In 1991, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) created World Diabetes Day ( which is the world's largest diabetes awareness campaign and became an official United Nations Day in 2006 (Resolution 61/225).

Since 1923, there has been significant improvements in the treatment, management and understanding of diabetes thanks to the relentless efforts of researchers in many scientific, medical, pharmaceutical and healthcare disciplines across the globe 

13th November, 2019