An Exmouth scientist has received a major award, for work which has transformed diabetes screening in young people.

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Dr Tim McDonald, who works at the NHS Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, has been named Young Healthcare Scientist of the Year.

He received his award from Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, and chief scientific officer at the Department of Health, Professor Sue Hill OBE, at Westminster Hall in London.

Dr McDonald, a former pupil at Exmouth Community College, won the award after developing a urine test which can help identify the two per cent of young people with a type of diabetes called Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY).

Genetic testing can identify this type of diabetes, but it is too expensive to test all young diabetics.

However, Dr McDonald’s test can enable those likely to have MODY to be selected for genetic testing.

Dr McDonald said: “It is obviously a great honour to be given this award and I am very grateful to my supervisors who nominated me.

“It is important to realise there is a large group of people that contributed to this research, so I accept the award on behalf of everyone involved in the project.

“This research resulted from the foresight of both the diabetes research team at the Peninsula Medical School and pathology laboratories at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

“This unique partnership enabled this work to be rapidly translated into clinical practise.

“This test is already making a difference to the way patients are treated, which is immensely gratifying.”

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