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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 ...

Role of triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins in substrate supply and metabolic signalling
Evans Group

Role of triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins in ...

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 ...

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 ...

Cell Biology of Exosome Signalling, Secretion and Growth in Normal and Cancer Cells at Super-Resolution
Wilson Group

Cell Biology of Exosome Signalling, Secretion and ...

Latest news

New human heart model set to boost future cardiac research and therapies

DPAG's Dr Jakub Tomek and Professor Blanca Rodriguez's Computational Cardiovascular Science Team have developed a new computer model that recreates the electrical activity of the ventricles in a human heart. In doing so, they have uncovered and resolved theoretical inconsistencies that have been present in almost all models of the heart from the last 25 years and created a new human heart model that could enable more basic, translational and clinical research into a range of heart diseases and potentially accelerate the development of new therapies.

New target identified for repairing the heart after heart attack

An immune cell is shown for the first time to be involved in creating the scar that repairs the heart after damage. The Riley Group study was funded by the British Heart Foundation and led by BHF CRE Intermediate Transition Research Fellow Dr Filipa Simões.

New insights into how the brain makes sense of our constantly changing soundscape

We experience a wide range of sounds at varying levels. The brain's auditory neurons constantly adapt their responses to changes in sound level to help us perceive and understand what we hear. King Group researchers have previously demonstrated how these neurons do this and have now produced new evidence for exactly where this happens in the brain and the perceptual consequences of these adaptations.