Research // Diabetes & Metabolic Disease //

Using genetic risk for metabolic disease to understand disease mechanisms and guide treatment

Obesity and type-2 diabetes rates in Māori and Pacific peoples in New Zealand are 2-3 times higher than for the general population, representing a major health challenge of particular importance to the country. 

The Maurice Wilkins Centre's metabolic diseases flagship programme is focused on investigating how variants in the genome might predispose New Zealand's Māori and Pacific populations to metabolic diseases. 

The flagship's goals are to improve patient outcomes through a better understanding of how certain genetic factors might be impacting on the effectiveness of current treatments, and by developing new preventative or intervention strategies tailored for individuals with particular genotypes. 

Studies in this programme are being undertaken with these goals in mind and with the expectation that the research will lead to genetically-informed clinical trials in the medium term.

Importantly, this flagship is collaborating with our joint research centre partners - The MOKO Foundation in Kaitaia and Ngāti Porou Hauora Charitable Trust in the Tairawhiti region and with Pacific Health Plus in Porirua.