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12 May 2021

Professor Stephanie Amiel honoured by Diabetes UK

Professor Stephanie Amiel from the School of Life Course Sciences recognised for her remarkable contribution to diabetes research and education.


Stephanie Amiel, Professor of Diabetes Research from the School of Life Course Sciences, has recently been announced as the recipient of the Robert Turner Award for Research Impact 2021 to honour her significant role in revolutionising our understanding of hypoglycaemia – known as low blood sugar – and the delivery of structured diabetes education. The award is presented annually by leading charity, Diabetes UK.

I was honoured to be considered a worthy recipient of the award – not least because Diabetes UK is a patient and professional organisation that has done, and continues to do, so much to support people with diabetes and their families.

Professor Stephanie Amiel, School of Life Course Sciences

Professor Amiel continued: “A clinical academic career is demanding but also great fun, and the joy of discovery is its own reward. But ultimately, the dream of every researcher is to have their research make a difference, and that my peers and my community think that I have been able to achieve this is just wonderful.”

Professor Amiel’s major focus in her career has been on trying to understand the drivers of hypoglycaemia as it occurs in people using insulin to manage their diabetes. She has led on landmark physiological in vivo studies looking at the responses to hypoglycaemia in health and disease, neuroimaging studies to understand the brain’s role in those responses, and qualitative research to understand clinical presentations and the impact of hypoglycaemia on people’s lives, both people with diabetes and their families.

In improving defences against hypoglycaemia, Professor Amiel has investigated pharmacology; educational strategies; technology and cell transplantation therapy, culminating in a current trial of novel intervention using psychology to address cognitions around hypoglycaemia to help people with particularly problematic blood sugar levels.

At King’s, alongside colleagues in the King’s Liver Transplantation Unit and Paediatric Hepatology, Professor Amiel set up the King’s Human Islet Isolation and Transplantation Service and led the team that carried out the first multi-donor islet transplant in the UK to resolve problematic hypoglyaemia. Thanks to success in this area, by 2008 islet transplants were made available on the NHS for some people with type 1 diabetes. They can be life-saving with powerful benefits, such as fewer severe hypos, regaining hypo awareness and safer blood glucose levels.

Along the way, Professor Amiel has also used the techniques developed to study hypoglycaemia to look at other issues in diabetes – the impact of insulin resistance, obesity and surgery on food intake and appetite control; the interaction between diabetes in mental health in determining diabetes outcomes; improving outcomes in diabetes pregnancy and the impact of ethnicity on metabolic regulation and dysregulation in early diabetes.

There are so many people to whom I owe thanks and without whom I would have not been where I am today. I cannot list all the amazing research fellows, collaborators, nurses, clinicians, scientists, neuroimagers, radiologists, surgeons and psychologists who have made my work possible, but Patrik Choudhary, my one-time lecturer and now Professor in Type 1 Diabetes and Technology, has been a wonderful colleague who deserves a special mention, as does the whole of the Diabetes Team at King’s College Hospital and the patients it serves.

Professor Stephanie Amiel, School of Life Course Sciences

Professor Amiel continued: “I would also like recognise my mentors, the late Professor Harry Keen of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, and Professor Robert Sherwin and Professor William Tamborlane of Yale from whom I learned so much. Nurses Eileen Turner, Helen Rogers, Andy Pernet, psychologist Nicole de Zoya and psychiatrist Khalida Ismail also have been key to my progress. Finally, a special thank you to my husband, Sir K George Alberti, who has supported me so much.”

Read more about Professor Amiel’s career achievements.

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Stephanie  Amiel

Professor of Diabetes Research