Richard Oram

Dr Richard Oram, PhD, BMBCh, BA (hons), MRCP
Associate Professor, Diabetes UK Harry Keen Fellow
University of Exeter – College of Medicine And Health – Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions

Professor Richard Oram is a Diabetes UK Harry Keen Fellow specializing in Type 1 diabetes at the Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Science and NIHR Exeter Clinical Research Facility. Richard finished his Diabetes UK funded PhD on endogenous insulin production in type 1 diabetes in 2014, he showed that most people with type 1 diabetes still make small amounts of their own insulin. Funded by JDRF, he continues to study the biology of beta cell loss in type 1 diabetes and the impact of persistent beta cell function on complications, including hypoglycemia. His Harry Keen fellowship and the Helmsley Charitable Trust fund Richard and Tim Tree (KCL) to study the causes of a rare subtype of extremely early onset type 1 diabetes – diagnosed under the age of 1 year. This overlaps with work with Sarah Richardson, Noel Morgan, Andrew Hattersley and Tim McDonald to better define endotypes of type 1 diabetes. 

Working with Mike Weedon, he has developed a cheap, simple method to assess genetic risk in type 1 diabetes – a T1D genetic risk score (T1D GRS). He has shown this can be used as a diagnostic test to differentiate type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and with Kash Patel has shown it can be used to identify monogenic diabetes. Collaborating with Bill Hagopian (PNRI, Seattle), he recently improved the T1D GRS to include more HLA alleles and their interactions. With Ranjan Yajnik (Pune, India), he has shown the utility of this T1D genetic risk score in Indians. With Mike Weedon, Bill Hagopian and the NIH funded SEARCH study, Richard is working of uses of the T1D GRS in an ethnically diverse US population.

Richard is testing the utility of the T1D GRS for prediciton of Type 1 diabetes. Funded by JDRF, with Bill Hagopian, Lauric Ferrat and Kendra Vehik, he is investigating combining genetic information with longitudinal biomarkers to better predict type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases from birth in the NIH funded TEDDY study. He is coinvestigator with with Maria Redondo (Baylor College of Medicine) to intergrate genetics into better prediciton of type 1 diabetes in the NIH funded Trialnet Pathway to Prevention study. Richard is working with Bill Hagopian to test a newborn genetic screen with autoantibody monitoring follow up to prevent childhood diabetic ketoacidosis in the CASCADE study.

Richard spent a period of his training at the University of Alberta with the world leading clinical islet transplant and renal transplant programs. During this time he performed analysis of complications related to immunosuppression post-islet transplantation, and with Peter Senior and Shareen Forbes developed a new method to assess graft function – The Beta2 Score.