Prof. Fidelma Dunne
Prof. Fidelma Dunne MD, PhD, FRCP (UK), FRCPI
Fidelma Dunne is a Professor in Medicine at the School of Medicine, National University of Ireland, and a Consultant Endocrinologist at Galway University Hospitals group. She holds an MD (University College Cork), PhD (University of Birmingham UK), Masters in Medical Education (University of Dundee Scotland), and Masters in Clinical Research (NUI Galway). She is an Associate Director of the NUI Galway Clinical Research Facility.
Previously she was the Foundation Head of the School of Medicine (2009-2013) and executive board member of Irish Medical Council (2013-2021). She is currently a member of the Diabetes in Pregnancy Study Group of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes and is the current President of the International Association Diabetes in Pregnancy Study Groups (2016-2022). She was a Fulbright scholar for 2014-2015 at Columbia University New York and is an Adjunct Professor at Steno Diabetes Research Centre in Odense, Denmark (2020-2025). She is currently the Director of the Diabetes Collaborative Clinical Trial Network established in 2022.
Her major research interest is in pregnancy and diabetes with >220 peer review publications, 10,000 citations, H index of 51 and has been awarded with >22m euro in grant funding.
EMERGE TRIAL: Currently her research group are conducting several studies as part of the ATLANTIC Diabetes in Pregnancy group programme.
One of these studies is EMERGE, looking at an investigational medical product regulated trial of Metformin compared to placebo in pregnancies complicated by gestational diabetes, which means they are looking to understand if proscribing Metformin will help women with gestational diabetes during their pregnancy, with the hope that it will reduce the complications for women and their babies.
In a long-term study following up with the same patient group, they will continue to review the mother and baby for the future to report the long term effect of metformin on both, especially in terms of obesity and future diabetes.
Another study in the ATLANTIC DIP programme is investigating a biomarker (CD59) for gestational diabetes diagnosis, so the research group is looking for this biomarker in blood of pregnant women and seeing if high levels in the blood can tell if they will develop gestational diabetes ahead of the usual diagnosis using a glucose tolerance test, and if that is true, then they will be able to provide more care and treatment for these women in early pregnancy and reduce the complications associated with gestational diabetes. The long-term hope is that this CD59 biomarker could replace the current way of diagnosing gestational diabetes, which requires pregnant women to fast for eight hours beforehand and have multiple blood draws, and instead be replaced with a simple blood test without any fasting needed, making it easier for clinical team and most importantly patients.
DALI TRIAL: Fidelma has been involved in the Vitamin D And Lifestyle Interventiom (DALI) for gestational diabetes prevention trial, a multicentre European funded trial on prevention of gestational diabetes, with the hope that through a combination of nutritional and lifestyle changes, coaching and support from clinical team members, that pregnant women would be able to avoid progression to gestational diabetes.
CONCEPTT TRIAL: Fidelma has been also involved in the continuous glucose monitoring in pregnant women with type 1 diabetes (CONCEPTT) trial, funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. This trial was trying to understand if continuous glucose monitoring machines helped women with Type 1 diabetes gain better control of their blood sugar in pregnancy and if this technology led to less complications for the women and their babies.
EXPECT Trial: In this trial Fidelma and other researchers are examining the outcomes of pregnancy in women with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who are treated with a very new insulin (Degludec) compared to the already established insulin Levemir. The study results will soon be published.
EVOLVE Trial: Fidelmas research group also contributed to this trial. It examined pregnancy outcomes of women with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes across many different centres who were using different types of insulin. The study was mainly looking at how Levemir insulin compared to other long-acting insulins and found it was safe and effective.