Exploring how exercise, oxidative stress and antioxidant treatment regulate insulin action in type 2 diabetes mellitus

The impact to society and health implications of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2D) are well-characterised, yet the specific mechanisms behind T2D development, disease progression, and treatment strategies targeting the root aetiology remain elusive. Excess oxidative stress has been linked to impaired insulin action (the body’s ability to respond to insulin and metabolise glucose) and the subsequent development of T2D. In contrast, our research team has also reported that exercise, a cornerstone strategy for preventing and treating T2D, also increases oxidative stress yet insulin action in this context is enhanced. Likewise, antioxidant treatment which is designed to decrease oxidative stress can either enhance insulin action (e.g., in T2D patients) or impair insulin action (e.g., during exercise). It is currently unknown how the same oxidative stress and antioxidants can lead to completely opposing outcomes on insulin action and glucose metabolism.

Aim of the project

This project will explore how oxidative stress, antioxidant treatment, and exercise regulate insulin action in T2D. This project will involve a human and cell culture study (skeletal muscle cells) using a variety of unique interventions (e.g., exercise and intravenous infusions in humans; simulated exercise and optogenetics in cells) to manipulate oxidative stress, antioxidants and insulin action.


The successful applicant will be working with Dr Lewan Parker, A/Prof Michelle Keske, A/Prof Glenn Wadley, and Dr Gunveen Kaur from IPAN.


Applicants should have an undergraduate degree with Honours (first class, or anticipation of first class Honours) or equivalent degree. Interested students must be eligible for enrolment in a PhD program at Deakin University and eligible to apply for an Australian Postgraduate Award or equivalent. Please refer to the entry pathways to higher degrees by research for further information. We will work with suitably qualified applicants to apply for scholarship funding.

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