Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you will not see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

We use the full range of modern molecular genetic and imaging techniques to study a range of metabolic areas.

Hormone-producing cells in the pancreatic islets of Langerhans © Frances Ashcroft and Melissa Brereton
Hormone-producing cells in the pancreatic islets of Langerhans

Understanding the role of hormones and energy production

Metabolism and endocrinology underlie every aspect of our lives, from the functioning of a single cell through to our ability to run a marathon. Therefore it is not surprising that defects in endocrine or metabolic function underlie so many common human diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders. 

Our department has a long and distinguished history of metabolic and endocrine research. This includes the pioneering studies of Haldane and Douglas into human respiration and metabolism. It also includes the work of Geoffrey Harris, who showed that the anterior pituitary is regulated by factors secreted from hypothalamic neurons, and who many consider to be the “founding father” of neuroendocrinology. More recently, basic science from our department has helped to change therapy for patients with neonatal diabetes and to improve the performance of endurance athletes. Today, our studies remain directed at understanding basic physiological mechanisms, how these are impaired in disease, with the ultimate goal of creating new therapeutic approaches to disease. 

Metabolic research is of profound importance to society. The current twin pandemics of obesity and type-2 diabetes are obvious examples of where there is both a major public health concern and a huge economic cost. DPAG groups are investigating the genetic causes of obesity, the regulation of pancreatic hormone secretion, and how cardiac metabolism is impaired in type-2 diabetes. We also study metabolic changes in cancer, an almost defining feature of this disease, along with cellular mechanisms involved in amino acid uptake, metabolism and cell growth.

Mammals need a continuous supply of oxygen to survive because it forms the terminal electron acceptor for aerobic energy production. Our department has a major research effort to understand both oxygen sensing and respiratory control. Importantly, we are beginning to understand just how important oxygen sensing and signaling pathways are for shaping both human form and function. Mitochondria are the subcellular structures associated with aerobic metabolism, and our department has a strong research profile directed at understanding mitochondrial function within their cellular environment.

Within our metabolic and endocrine research we employ a wide variety of techniques, ranging from the highly molecular through to physiological studies in human volunteers. Overall, the Department provides a vibrant, comprehensive and exciting place to conduct research within this theme.



Groups within this theme

ATP-sensitive potassium (K-ATP) channels, insulin secretion and diabetes
Ashcroft Group

ATP-sensitive potassium (K-ATP) channels, insulin ...

Cellular mechanisms of oxygen and acid sensing in arterial chemoreceptors
Buckler Group

Cellular mechanisms of oxygen and acid sensing in ...

Optimising cardiac stem cell therapy by finding the best conditions for the cells in the lab and in the heart
Carr Group

Optimising cardiac stem cell therapy by finding ...

Glucocorticoids, Annexin 1 and the Neuroendocrine–Immune Interface
Christian Group

Glucocorticoids, Annexin 1 and the ...

Ketone metabolism in exercise and disease
Clarke Group

Ketone metabolism in exercise and disease

Role of ABC transporters in gut endocrine K-and L-cells
de Wet Group

Role of ABC transporters in gut endocrine K-and ...

We investigate neuroimmune molecular mechanisms underlying obesity.
Domingos Group

We investigate neuroimmune molecular mechanisms ...

Proton dependence of intracellular calcium signalling in the cerebellum in health and disease - role of extracellular pH sensing receptors and ion channels.
Glitsch Group

Proton dependence of intracellular calcium ...

Growth Regulation and Cancer: mTORC1, Exosomes and Cellular Amino Acid Sensing
Goberdhan Group

Growth Regulation and Cancer: mTORC1, Exosomes ...

Abnormal metabolism in type 2 diabetes, and how this affects the heart
Heather Group

Abnormal metabolism in type 2 diabetes, and how ...

Spatial organization of fat metabolism.
Klemm Group

Spatial organization of fat metabolism.

Iron Homeostasis- Mechanisms and importance in systems (patho)physiology
Lakhal-Littleton Group

Iron Homeostasis- Mechanisms and importance in ...

Human systems physiology: Respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic function in response to stresses such as exercise and hypoxia
Robbins Group

Human systems physiology: Respiratory, ...

Acid handling and signalling in the heart and in cancer
Swietach Group

Acid handling and signalling in the heart and in ...

Development and Application of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy
Tyler Group

Development and Application of Cardiac Magnetic ...

Exosomes, Microcarriers and Regulated Secretion: Complex Forms of Inter-Cellular and Inter-Organism Communication
Wilson Group

Exosomes, Microcarriers and Regulated Secretion: ...

Latest news

A clue to how a memory-enhancing pill might work

Hundreds of dietary supplements have been reported to improve cognitive and emotional function in humans, but few have scientific foundation. A new study from the Waddell group provides fresh insight into how dietary Magnesium supplementation can influence memory performance.

New MRI technique could detect early signs of heart failure in cancer patients following chemotherapy

New research led by Oxford BHF CRE Intermediate Transition Fellow Dr Kerstin Timm shows that a recently developed imaging technique pioneered by the Tyler Group can detect early metabolic changes in the heart caused by a commonly used chemotherapy drug, which is known to increase risk of heart failure in cancer survivors.

Researchers reveal surprising simplicity behind our ability to hear

A computational modelling study from the King Group demonstrates that the way sounds are transformed from the ear to the brain’s auditory cortex may be simpler than expected. These findings not only highlight the value of computational modelling for determining the principles underlying neural processing, but could also be useful for improving treatments for patients with hearing loss.