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Lisa Heather

BHF Intermediate Fellow and Associate Professor

My research revolves around metabolism and the heart – understanding why metabolism is important and what the consequences are when it goes wrong.

My passion for metabolism began during my undergraduate degree in Medical Biochemistry at the University of Surrey.  I loved the way everything fitted together into this complex jigsaw, which in many ways resembled the London Underground map.  And just like a public transport network, if something goes wrong with one enzyme or pathway, the whole system can either adapt or grind to a halt.   

My doctoral research investigated the role of abnormal substrate metabolism in the development of cardiac hypertrophy.  My subsequent post-doctoral research focused on the role of mitochondrial metabolism in cardiac disease progression. 

In 2011 I was awarded a Diabetes UK RD Lawrence Fellowship, to study the role of hypoxia and metabolism in the type 2 diabetic heart.  Heart disease is the leading cause of mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes, and patients have increased incidence of, and decreased recovery following myocardial infarction.  

In 2018 I was awarded a British Heart Foundation Intermediate Fellowship, to study why fat accumulation in the type 2 diabetic heart is such a bad thing.  We are studying what fats can do to the function of the cardiomyocyte, and how they might be signalling to activate deleterious processes.  We have identified a number of novel signalling roles for fatty acids within the diabetic myocardium - regulating transcription factors, post-translational modifications and competitively inhibiting enzymes - that contribute to cardiomyocyte dysfunction at rest and in response to stress in type 2 diabetes.