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Understanding the role of hormones and energy production

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

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 ...

Beta cell function, obesity and type 2 diabetes
Cantley Group

Beta cell function, obesity and type 2 diabetes

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 ...

Diet, exercise and disease
Clarke Group

Diet, exercise and disease

Cosker Group

This should be the title of your research: very ...

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

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

Human physiology: the pulmonary circulation, age, iron, and exercise
Dorrington Group

Human physiology: the pulmonary circulation, age, ...

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

Role of triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins in ...

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

Growth Regulation and Cancer: mTORC1, Exosomes ...

Cardiac substrate metabolism: it's all about the energy
Heather Group

Cardiac substrate metabolism: it's all about the ...

Interplay between Iron and Oxygen Homeostasis in Systems (Patho)physiology
Lakhal-Littleton Group

Interplay between Iron and Oxygen Homeostasis in ...

Morris Group

Ultrastructural immunocytochemistry

Human physiology: Effects of hypoxia and exercise on respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic function
Robbins Group

Human physiology: Effects of hypoxia and exercise ...

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

Development and Application of Cardiac Magnetic ...

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

Cell Biology of Signalling, Membrane Trafficking, ...