The higher education body UHI Millennium Institute has created a professorship to research diabetes.
The appointment of scientist Dr Ian Megson has been sponsored by LifeScan Scotland Ltd, which manufactures products for diabetics.
Prof Megson takes up his post at the Centre for Health Studies at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, on 1 July.
He will help head a research team which will look at the consequences of diabetes, including heart disease.
Prof Megson is a senior lecturer in cardiovascular science at the University of Edinburgh.
He will lead the new team with Dr Sandra MacRury, consultant diabetologist at the Raigmore, who is also a professor at UHI.
Prof Megson said: "My interest is in free radicals research and antioxidants.
"Free radicals are very important in the development of diabetes and in its consequences, particularly in the cardiovascular system.
"We will be addressing this problem, both in terms of how the disease develops and how we might be able to help combat it.
"Our aim, ultimately, is to have a clearer understanding of how the disease develops, and give pointers as to how we might be able to use alternatives to insulin to prevent its progression or limit its symptoms."