Professor Usman Malabu is head of Translational Research in Endocrinology and Diabetes (TREAD) at the College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University (JCU), Australia. Professor Malabu joined JCU in 2007 and established the TREAD with the aim of carrying out research intended to be translated into improved management of diabetes and endocrine diseases. Trained as endocrinologist, Professor Malabu spent 2 years of his specialist training to obtain experience in experimental and laboratory research techniques in endocrinology and diabetes at the University of Liverpool and Royal Liverpool Hospital, UK. His research commitment is illustrated by his involvement in international and national collaborative studies leading to high-quality publications in peer reviewed journals and scientific presentations worldwide.  Professor Malabu’s current roles include that of Head of JCU's TREAD, Head of JCU/AITHM PNG Diabetes and Tuberculosis Projects in New Ireland Province, and Coordinator of JCU's Coordinator of Year-6 Basic Science Assignment.

Professor Malabu has developed several Telehealth models as solutions for the access issues faced by underserved populations in Australia's Indigenous Communities and PNG's Pacific Islanders in areas of communicable and non-communicable diseases notably diabetes and tuberculosis. These include the Townsville Telediabetes and Teleendocrinology Models based in Australia and m-health interactive voice recognition model in PNG's Kavieng that have attracted national and international recognition with active participation of AITHM, BUPA Health Foundation, Australian Diabetes Society, Queensland Government and World Diabetes Foundation.

His main research theme has been the evaluation of diagnostic, therapeutic and access to care of diabetic foot complications using innovative models that suit rural/remote communities. Novel diagnostic tests for diabetic foot infections in remote areas have been published by TREAD under his leadership while new mode of therapy has been evaluated. These research activities gave rise to national and international conference presentations, publications in highest impact factor journals -Diabetes (USA), British Medical Journal and New England Journal of Medicine. Till date, Professor Malabu has received over $2.5 million grants in the last 3 years from prestigious award organizations: World Diabetes Foundation (WHO-affiliated, Belgium), BUPA Health Foundation and several national innovative funds. Professor Malabu also participated in the international multi-centre trials leading to international acknowledgments, recognition and publications.

 For undergraduate education, he has developed in liaison with JCU College of Medicine Evaluation and Assessment Unit a vertically integrated Clinical Elective curriculum for year-6 JCU students in line with the standard AMC Guidelines.  Professor Malabu has also contributed in developing Basic Science Assignment for year-6 students with excellent feedback including having marked assignments published in international journals. As a member of The Townsville Hospital (TTH) Research Committee he headed a subcommittee for empowering JCU students and postgraduates (as TTH junior doctors) to engage in research while on clinical training with a strong belief that this will assist in return on investment (ROI) to the JCU as its future leaders.  

  • MD6010: Advanced Clinical Medicine Part 1 of 3 (Level 6; TSV)
  • MD6020: Advanced Clinical Medicine Part 2 of 3 (Level 6; TSV)
  • MD6030: Advanced Clinical Medicine Part 3 of 3 (Level 6; TSV)
  • Diabetic foot/kidney disease
  • Diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • Impact of Diabetes on Indigenous Australian Health
  • Metabolic bone disease
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2016 to 2022 - -$296,707 World Diabetes Foundation for TB and Diabetes in PNG
  • 2015 to 2022 - -$95,000 TB and Diabetes in PNG –Queensland Government grant
  • 2015 to 2022 - -$498,918 BUPA for Telemedicine DM foot care in rural areas
  • 2014 to 2022 - -$400,000 Queensland Government for Innovative diabetic foot project
  • 2014 to 2022 - -$55,000 Australian Diabetes Society for Telemedicine in rural areas
  • 2013 to 2022 - -$180,000 Novartis: Vildagliptin effects on foot ulcer
  • 2012 to 2016 - -$19,600 PPTF: Topical sodium thiosulphate in foot ulcer
  • 2012 to 2016 - -$14,500 Regional Diabetes Support Scheme for foot ulcer risk assessment
  • 2014 to 2015 - -$8,500 JCU Faculty Grant for new diagnostic DM foot infection test
  • 2013 to 2014 - -$8,000 JCU Block Grant to purchase 3-D DM foot camera
  • 2012 to 2013 - -$1,750 Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation Research for DM amputation
  • 2013 - Fellow Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
  • 2006 - Fellow American College of Physicians
  • 1991 - Commonwealth Diabetes Research Fellow, University of Liverpool & Royal Liverpool Hospital UK
  • 2014 - International Editorial Board Member: a. Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders 2014-date; b. Austin Endocrinology & Diabetes Case Reports 2016 -date; c. Austin Journal of Endocrinology & Diabetes 2016-date
  • 2016 - Voted best Endocrinologist in Townsville: https://threebestrated.com.au/endocrinologists-in-townsville-qld
  • 2016 - Chief Scientific Advisor to Nigeria's Charitable Adamawa Diabetes Concern [Patron: Nigeria's First Lady]
  • 2012 - Head JCU Translational Research in Endocrinology and Diabetes
  • 2016 - WHO/UNDP Diabetes Experts Panelist at the Heads of State/Ministerial Pacific Countries Summit, Tonga
  • 2015 - National Speaker on Indigenous Diabetic Foot Baker IDI Diabetes Institute Conference Alice Springs

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 96+ research outputs authored by Prof Usman Malabu from 1992 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

World Diabetes Foundation - Research Grant

Increased awareness of and access to diabetes and tuberculosis care in New Ireland Province of Papua New Guinea

Indicative Funding
$307,331 over 5 years
The 3-year project is intended to (1) raise awareness of Diabetes and TB among the general populationin New Ireland Province (2) Train doctors, nurses, pharmacists and community health workers to effectively treat Diabetes and TB (3) Establish better monitoring of Diabetes and TB in remote areas with the help of electronic registry and mobile phone technology (4) conduct public health campaigns by the local health professionals and to screen and monitor the diseases with the help of mobile phone technology.
Usman Malabu, Emma McBryde, Venkat Vangaveti, Matthew McLee and Frank Apamumu (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, College of Medicine & Dentistry and Kavieng General Hospital)

Bupa Health Foundation - Grant Program

Telemedicine: New Horizon in Management of Diabetic Foot Ulcer in Rural/Remote Australia

Indicative Funding
$465,514 over 4 years
Diabetic Foot Ulcer (DFU) is a serious complication causing >80% of diabetic lower limb amputations. Compared to Australian major cities, rural/remote areas experience two to three times higher rate of hospitalisation and limb amputation. A program that effectively manages foot ulcers and reduces hospital admissions could substantially reduce the cost of care in diabetes. Supervised care of trained rural nurses with the help of information technology may help solve the scarcity of diabetes would care specialists in the underserved communities. This proposal seeks to assess clinical and economic impact of telemedicine in the management of foot ulcers in rural/remote Australia.
Usman Malabu, Venkat Vangaveti, Kunwarjit Sangla, Holger Jansen and Rafiuddin Ahmed in collaboration with John Piette, Amy Langely and Yogesan Kanagasingham (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Townsville Hospital and Health Services, College of Business, Law & Governance, Not in list?.. and Australian e-Health Research Centre)
Diabetic Foot Ulcer; Wound Healing; Diabetes; Tele Medicine

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Australia Pty Ltd - Contract Research

Effects of Galvus (Vildagliptin) on Markers of Inflammation in Diabetic Foot Ulcer: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study

Indicative Funding
Interlukin-6 is an established inflammatory marker that has been shown to be increased in individuals with diabetic foot ulcers (DFU). Furthermore, DFU has been referred to as an inflammatory state. Therefore, a reduction in inflammatory markers in this high-risk population is likely to correlate with a corresponding improvement of diabetic foot ulcer healing. We aim to study in this pilot clinical trial the effect of Vildagliptin on regulation of IL-6 and its effects on diabetic foot ulcers healing.
Usman Malabu, Ranjit Rasalam, Venkat Vangaveti and Kunwarjit Sangla in collaboration with Jason Warnock and Kelvin Robertson (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Townsville Hospital and Health Services and Queensland Health)
Diabetic Foot Ulcer; Wound Healing; Diabetes

Townsville Hospital Foundation - Research Project

Effect of Topical Sodium Thiosulphate on Healing of Chronic Foot Ulcers in Patients with Diabetic Foot Syndromne: A prospectie, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study.

Indicative Funding
10% of diabetic patients develop chronic foot ulcers, an expensive compliction threatening life and liimbs. Foot pressure relief, wound debridement, infection control and hyperbaric oxygen therapy remain alternative options in the treatment of Diabetic Foot Syndrome (DFS) but successes are suboptimal and are expensive. Sodium thiosulphate (STS), an effective antiocidant and chelating agent for free radicals could prove useful in this regards. They have been found to be beneficial in treatment of woulds caused by calciphylaxis. We aim to sudy the effects of STS on ulcer healing this pilot study.
Ranjit Rasalam, Usman Malabu, Venkat Vangaveti and Kunwarjit Sangla in collaboration with Jason Warnock (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Townsville Hospital and Health Services and Queensland Health)
Diabetic foot ulcer; wound healing; Diabetes

Australian Diabetes Society - Research Grant

Clinical and Economic Impact of Telemedicine in Management of Diabetes Foot Ulcer in Rural/Remote areas of North Queensland: A Pilot Study

Indicative Funding
Currently subjects with Diabetic foot ulcers living in rural/remote areas in the region have to travel long distances to Townsville Hospital Diabetes Centre (THDC) on a weekly basis for would care. The annual Medicare cost for care in patients with diabetes who have foot ulcer is 3 times, with inpatient care accounting for 70% of ulcer care costs. We aim to undertake a program that effectively manages foot ulcers and reduces hospital admissions could substantially reduce costs of care in diabetes. We plan to use telemedicine to help solve the scarcity of specialist diabetes would care in underserved communities.
Usman Malabu, Venkat Vangaveti, Kunwarjit Sangla and Holger Jansen in collaboration with Rafiuddin Ahmed, Piette John and Jason Warnock (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Queensland Health, College of Business and Law & Governance)
Diabetic Foot Ulcer; Wound Healing; Diabetes

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These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Impact of Self-Care Education Via Mobile Phone Text Messaging in Diabetic Patients Living in Rural/Remote North Queensland: Clinical, Economic and Genetic Analysis (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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