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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 04 October 2014
SATURDAY 4 OCTOBER 2014 3 AUSTRALIA Scientist and diabetes expert Associate Professor Sofianos Andrikopoulos PhD was ap- pointed president of the Aus- tralian Diabetes Society last month, having been at the forefront of diabetes research for over 20 years. Andrikopoulos, 45, was born and raised in Richmond to parents from Pyrgos, Ili- as. He studied a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne before pursuing an Honours degree and PhD in the field of diabetes research. He was so "infected by the research bug" he spent two years in the United States at the University of Washington (in Seattle) completing a post- doctoral fellowship before re- turning to the University of Melbourne in 1998 to estab- lish a research group that he still oversees today. "The group that we have here is the Islet Biology and Me- tabolism Research Group. It has 11 members, and we do pre-clinical research in un- derstanding what causes type two diabetes. We use a lot of models to study specific genes or specific pathways and their role in causing diabetes." "I worked pretty hard, I got involved in the various soci- eties and one of the societies I got involved with was the Australian Diabetes Society. It's the peak health profes- sional society in Australia and then I became president of it." Andrikopoulos had little in- tention of forging a career in diabetes research, but after getting "hooked" he found a passion for discovering new pathways and molecules, and research into finding preven- tative measures and a cure for both type one and two dia- betes. "It's a big problem, it's a problem that affects a lot of people, it's a problem that af- fects Greek people." Despite difficulties, Andriko- poulos said he had no doubt a cure for the disease, whilst not imminent, will be discovered. "I wouldn't be in research if I didn't honestly believe that we would come to find a cure for both type one and type two diabetes. I think we've made huge progress in understand- ing and treating both forms of the disease in the 24 years that I've been involved in re- search, and I'm really confi- dent that one day we will be able to cure them," he said. "We have better pharmaceu- tical agents and better devic- es to manage both diseases and at some point we will get to where we will be able to cure it." Diabetes rates are at around eight to 10 per cent of the population, and at similar numbers within the Greek community. It is a disease that tracks through genetics and obesity, but for people susceptible to the odd glyko, Andrikopoulos said it is not all despair. "Sweets don't cause diabetes but if you do have diabetes you should avoid them. It's about good quality food and portion control - and exercise, daily activity is really impor- tant. If you develop diabetes you should follow a good diet avoiding carbohydrates, avoiding lipids and ensuring that you're quite active." Sweet appointment Diabetes expert and researcher Sofianos Andrikopoulos. Melbourne-born associate professor appointed president of peak diabetes research group JOHN PYRROS Greek actor Andreas Constan- tinou, a star of the film Lit- tle England, will be a guest of the 21st Delphi Bank Greek Film Festival, to take place in Sydney and Melbourne this month. Little England (Mikra Agglia), the film which will open this year's festival, is Greece's en- try for the foreign language Oscar next year. Directed by veteran Pantelis Voulgaris from a novel by his wife, Ioanna Karystiani, the melodrama centres on two sisters who both fall for a ship's captain on the Greek is- land of Andros during World War II. The festival opens at Palace Norton Street in Sydney on 14 October and Palace Como in Melbourne on 15 October. Producer Giannis Iakovidis is also coming to Australia as a festival guest. Chief executive officer of the Delphi Bank, the festival's ma- jor sponsor, Mr George Tacti- cos said he was delighted to see Greek film "take on new growth and importance in the world scene, gaining critical acclaim across many prestig- ious festivals and events". The festival will boast a selection of Greek family tragedies, carefully crafted dramas and tense thrillers with a strong resilient hand, highlighting Greece's hidden treasures and roots through the power of film. A new wave of Greek cinema will emerge from a bold gen- eration of young filmmakers who insist on breaking ties with past trends and seeing things in their own unique way. Read more in detail about the 21st Delphi Bank Greek Film Festival in next Satur- day's edition of Neos Kosmos' Good Life. Oscar entry to open Greek Film Festival Actor Andreas Constantinou will be a guest of the 21st Delphi Bank Greek Film Fesival. “I wouldn’t be in research if I didn’t honestly believe that we would come to find a cure for both type one and type two diabetes.” - Sofianos Andrikopoulos George Alex accused of kickbacks Sydney Greek Australian George Alex has been ac- cused of giving cash to a union official. One of Australia's most colourful businessmen, ‘Big Jim’ Byrnes, told the ABC this week he wit- nessed one of the key tar- gets of the trade union royal commission, George Alex, pass an envelope full of cash to a construction union official. If true, Mr Byrnes' state- ment would be the first eyewitness account of unexplained money being paid to union officials, a key area that is being in- vestigated by the commis- sion. Mr Alex is at the cen- tre of a web of unsavoury characters, including out- law bikers, violent stand- over men and convicted terrorists. The son of Greek mi- grants, George Alex likes to portray himself as a man of charity, giving jobs or forming alliances with those who have fall- en on hard times. Over the years, Alex's business partners have included convicted crim- inals, such as killer and since-murdered Hells An- gels enforcer Steve Mitro- vic and the Hells Angels drug trafficker Peter Sidi- rourgos. His chief business part- ner, career criminal Joe Antoun, was shot dead last December. Mr Byrnes is no innocent himself. He was jailed for the sup- ply of heroin in the 1980s and in the 1990s was the financial adviser to bank- rupt businessman Alan Bond.
27 September 2014
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