International praise for Diabetes researcher

27 Apr 2016

Professor David McIntyre, Head of the Mater Clinical School and Director of Endocrinology and Obstetric Medicine at Mater Health Services, South Brisbane has been named by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) as the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Norbert Freinkel Award.

Given in memory of Dr Norbert Freinkel, an internationally renowned expert on endocrinology and diabetes, the award honors a researcher who has made outstanding contributions, including scientific publications and presentations, to the understanding and treatment of diabetes in pregnancy.

With both basic and clinical research contributions to the field, Professor McIntyre has focused on determining the optimal way to diagnose and treat diabetes in pregnancy.

He has been closely involved in the translation of clinical research findings into clinical practice, in particular through the re-definition of gestational diabetes and promotion of optimal diagnosis and treatment of this common pregnancy complication.

He will deliver the Norbert Freinkel Award Lecture, “Discovery, Knowledge and Action - Diabetes in Pregnancy across the Translational Spectrum,” as part of a feature symposium at the ADA’s Annual Scientific Sessions in New Orleans in June, an accolade he said he was humbled to receive.

“Norbert Freinkel was one of the founding pioneers of research into diabetes in pregnancy.  This award lecture recognises long term contributions to research and clinical care of women with diabetes in pregnancy.  I greatly admire the previous scientists and clinicians who have received it and I am honoured and humbled to join their ranks.”

Professor McIntyre’s efforts have been instrumental in translating research into clinical practice and policy for diabetes in pregnancy.  He has worked with colleagues from a range of disciplines and has mentored many younger colleagues to be active leaders in the field, a duty he said was part of his responsibility.

“I believe that learning from past experience is one of the great “short cuts” to improving clinical care.   I try to pass on my knowledge and experience through training of UQ medical students, junior doctors and research higher degree students.”

“I’ve learned to collaborate actively with colleagues in the basic sciences, but also with many colleagues across the multi-disciplinary teams essential for the care of diabetes in pregnancy - midwives, diabetes educators, dietitians, other medical professionals.”

“I also work actively with UQ’s School of Public Health in areas of follow up of mothers and babies following pregnancy.  It’s very rewarding to be able to combine the great skills of all of these people towards optimising care of women with diabetes in pregnancy.”

With the  goal of preventing gestational diabetes (GDM), Professor McIntyre is edging closer to the ultimate success.

“We’re now in the final stages of a trial assessing the use of  probiotics “good bacteria” to prevent GDM. ”

“This trial is a collaboration between UQ, Mater and RBWH and we’re hopeful that it will provide the answer we’ve been looking for,” he said.