NICM HRI-BI Scholarship recipient

12 October 2020

Congratulations and welcome to Shayal Devi, recipient of the NICM Health Research Institute-Blackmores Institute Scholarship.

Shayal's PhD project will investigate through preclinical methods the effect of a plant-based supplement on gut microbiota as a potential target for metabolic syndrome, with a focus on diabetes.

Metabolic syndrome is a medical term for a group of health risk factors (such as obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance) that together increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other health problems. Metabolic syndrome affects about 20 to 30 per cent of adults in Australia.

Shayal says there is compelling evidence that suggests gut microbiota (the trillions of microbes living in our gut) plays a pivotal role in various physiological and metabolic activities.

Her hypothesis is that the supplement will restore abnormal cholesterol levels and could then be used as a viable complementary medicine for metabolic syndrome.

“I obtained both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree at Western Sydney University. During this period, my interest in complementary pharmacological research in diabetes, obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases increased leading me to start my PhD,” said Shayla.

“Upon completion, I’d like to continue researching in the same area and apply my experience and expertise for not just the scientific community, but to everyone affected by such diseases.”