The Olive Wellness Institute Research Grant is a new award in 2021 that provides an opportunity to fund olive research. The grant was open to researchers whose work focuses on improving the knowledge, education and/or information related to olive science.
Due to the high caliber of applications, the advisory panel has decided to fund two of the applications this year – congratulations to Professor Amal Kaddoumi and Associate Professor Matthew Leach! Both applicants will receive $14,000AUD towards their research projects. The decision to award two grants really reflects the importance the Olive Wellness Institute sees in furthering the pool of evidence related to olive science. We are excited to see projects on both olive leaf extract and extra virgin olive oil. Read on below to find out more about our winners and their research.
Associate Professor Matthew Leach is a clinical trialist (with >20 years’ experience), and a naturopath and registered nurse (with >13 years’ experience), with extensive experience in the management of diabetes. He has had a leading role on multiple diabetes-related projects. A/Prof Leach has published 154 refereed journal articles, 12 book chapters and a sole-authored textbook. His work has been cited over 3,861 times, and has had policy, education, research and practice impact.
A/Prof Leach’s project is titled ‘Efficacy and safety of olive leaf extract for glycaemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (ESOLED): a pilot randomised controlled trial’. Diabetes Mellitus affects an estimated 451 million adults worldwide, and costs health systems US$850 billion annually, making it an incredibly important area. The ESOLED project is a 6-month clinical study, and will explore whether Olive Leaf Extract (OLE) is safe and effective at improving blood glucose control, and quality of life, in adults living with type 2 diabetes. If OLE is shown to be a suitable treatment for diabetes, it may help support individuals living with the condition to reach their blood glucose targets, and in turn, help reduce the impact of diabetes on their lives.
Professor Amal Kaddoumi is a Professor at Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy, Department of Drug Discovery and Development. Her research interest is experimental therapeutics that include drugs discovery and development, identification of novel therapeutic targets, and translational research devoted to finding therapies for neurodegenerative diseases with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cerebral amyloid angiopathy.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder of the elderly that afflicts about 30 million patients globally. Despite the considerable research effort for preventing, treating, or curing the disease effective strategies remain lacking. Previous studies from Professor Kaddoumi’s lab have investigated the effect of extra virgin olive oil on Alzheimer’s disease in mice and found improvements in cognitive function. The funding from the Olive Wellness Institute Research Grant will go towards testing the performance of extra virgin olive oil in humans with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The research project will test the hypothesis that “Extra virgin olive oil prevents Mild Cognitive Impairment conversion to Alzheimer’s Disease”.
Congratulations again to our very deserving grant winners – the Olive Wellness Institute looks forward to seeing the outcomes of these exciting research projects!