Dr Kirstine Bell, better known to some as Kirstie
Hearing from her patients got Dr Bell thinking, “there’s got to be a better way of doing things”. Her gut feeling led her to research how to improve insulin dosing for meals, with the aim of making life with T1D easier and safer. She’s now not only involved in this area, but also working on some other exciting research exploring a fibre supplement’s potential effect on T1D.
Not only is Dr Bell one of our very first JDRF/Macquarie Group Foundation Future Leaders but she was recently awarded a JDRF Travel Grant to present her ground-breaking research and share ideas at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions 2018 conference.
Dr Bell has also completed post-doctoral research at, arguably the most famous educational institution in the world, Harvard Medical School. She’s already a powerhouse in the type 1 diabetes research arena, and her star is only going to rise.
Learn more about Dr Kirstie Bell, below:
1. Tell us about your research in T1D and how you came to be involved in the field
My passion for T1D began as an accredited practicing dietitian and CDE. Working closely with people with T1D, I
2. Tell us more about the new clinical trial you’ll be involved in
This is a very exciting new trial and we are very grateful to JDRF for entrusting us with it. We are trialling a new, specialised fibre that, one of our investigators, Dr Eliana Marino, has previously shown can prevent 90% of cases of T1D in mice. We think it works by influencing the gut bacteria which, in turn, turns off the autoimmune attack on the pancreas. Although we are still in the early stages of trialling this fibre in humans, it’s amazing to think that T1D could possibly be prevented with something as simple as a fibre supplement.
My role on the project is as a Principal Investigator for the Charles Perkins Centre site, meaning I am responsible for running the clinical trial from our dedicated clinical research
If this study proves successful, the next step will be a bigger clinical trial, recruiting people newly diagnosed with T1D, to see if the
4. It’s been over a year since you became involved in the Future Research Leaders Program, what are some useful things you learned as part of the Program and how has this influenced your career?
The JDRF/Macquarie Group Foundation Future Leaders Program has been incredibly beneficial. In this time, I have finished my first clinical trial as the Principal Investigator and, with JDRF’s support, presented the results at the American Diabetes Association Conference – the largest diabetes conference in the world.
The Program really highlighted to me the importance of thinking laterally and working with other research disciplines to come up with new, creative solutions for T1D. As a result, I have started new research collaborations both at University of Sydney and with other groups in Australia and internationally. I am also working to establish a new dedicated T1D project node at the Charles Perkins Centre to bring together all the T1D researchers to share expertise and spark new ideas and innovations.
Through the Program, I have also learnt a lot about what it means to be a good research leader. I have taken on five new research students since I began in the Program and have really tried to invest in these students, so they achieve their potential and can make valuable contributions to the T1D community too.