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

Cells within the skin are represented as an oblong-shaped solid mass of multi coloured, almost mosaic-like structure © 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 ...

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

Drug could help diabetic hearts recover after a heart attack

New research led by Associate Professor Lisa Heather has found that a drug known as molidustat, currently in clinical trials for another condition, could reduce risk of heart failure after heart attacks.

Blood bank storage can reduce ability of transfusions to treat anaemia

New research from the Swietach Group in collaboration with NHS Blood and Transplant has demonstrated that the process of storing blood in blood banks can negatively impact the function of red blood cells and consequently may reduce the effectiveness of blood transfusions, a treatment commonly used to combat anaemia.

Overlapping second messengers increase dynamic control of physiological responses

New research from the Parekh and Zaccolo groups reveals that a prototypical anchoring protein, known to be responsible for regulating several important physiological processes, also orchestrates the formation of two important universal second messengers.