Massey link to key diabetes research

A research project led by a Massey University professor could identify indicators of diabetes risk, which may assist in the development of healthier foods.

The collaboration with Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research, the University of Auckland and AgResearch has been awarded $750,000 of the Government's $1.75 million investment for New Zealand-Singapore projects to develop food products with validated health benefits.

The research will identify, develop and validate biomarkers using imaging and metabolic methods to develop greater understanding of the diabetes risk for Singaporean and Chinese women.

Massey University College of Health director of research, Professor Marlena Kruger, who will lead the project, said the information learned through the project was transferable to New Zealand as well.

"What we learn there is bringing relevant and transferable information to any population."

The markers found in the study would be used in intervention studies with food, Kruger said.

"The project marries expertise in both New Zealand and Singapore and is equally relevant to New Zealand where development of pre-diabetes is a risk for all population groups."

Kruger said she was excited to start the project. "For this project we teamed up with several institutions who have complementary skills and can give us access to new and novel technologies and significant expertise in clinical nutrition."

Pro vice-chancellor of the College of Health, Professor Paul McDonald, said the two-year project was further evidence that Massey was leading the world in improving nutrition and food.

"The things we learn through the collaboration will help us improve the diets of Kiwis, and enable the New Zealand food industry to produce and export even healthier food to meet the growing demand in Asia."

Manawatu Standard