Mirela Dalibegovic, originally from Tuzla, is a professor at Aberdeen University in Scotland, and she devoted her professional work to research of the issues of diabetes and obesity. Although she is busy with the care of two children in her free time, she still manages to find some time and run marathons. Mirela created a “Trodameskin” medicine with her team, which is currently clinically tested and intended for the treatment of breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
“I left Tuzla in August 1994. I got a scholarship from George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh and I performed all the exams for which other children were preparing for years in just eight months, after which I got a scholarship at the University in Edinburgh, where I studied pharmacology for four years and decided to go to London in my final year. I believe that that decision affected my whole career. I got an offer for postgraduate studies at Harvard, and I’ve always said to myself: “What’s the worst thing that can happen if I accept it?” It might happen that it does not turn out well and that I lose, but at least I tried. Because if you never try, you will never know if you could succeed,” stated Mirela.
How does it feel to be part of a team that will change many people’s health situation and life through its work?
“Great. It is nice to be a scientist because our life is always interesting. Even when you think that you know how something works, it turns out to be different and it leads you to a completely other way. I hope that this medicine will be available in the market one day. However, we are also working on other projects and medicines at the moment, which might be as effective. What are these projects? We work on a project where we achieve that the old animal is getting younger by replacing an amino acid, and this means that there is no more diabetes, the animal loses its weight etc.
The main focus of your work is on the research of diabetes and obesity. How much are these diseases actually present today?
“Obesity is the largest factor of risk, not just for diabetes, but also for cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s diseases, as well as several types of cancers. One always leads to another. The problem of diabetes is much higher than we think, and there are almost 300 million people suffering from diabetes all over the world. According to some estimates, at least 10 % of each country’s budget will go on the treatments of obesity and diabetes without cardiovascular diseases, cancer, etc.
She concluded that physical activity is very important for prevention of diabetes and obesity.