Skip to main content

Molecular Basis of Metabolic Disease

Metabolic disease is the major source of non-infectious morbidity in developed countries, with the incidence of conditions such as obesity-related diabetes projected to increase several-fold over the next few decades. Maintenance of metabolic health requires a detailed understanding of the underlying causes of metabolic disease.

Molecular and cell biological approaches are used within this research theme to elucidate the mechanisms involved in the aetiology of metabolic disease.

These include:

  • Enzymology of metabolic pathways involved in fat metabolism
  • Neuronal pathways involved in appetite control and stress
  • Membrane-protein structure-function relationships
  • Signal transduction mechanisms

These studies focus on mechanisms that enable cells to respond to (patho)physiological conditions encountered throughout life, ranging from conditions in utero, to childhood and to adult life (and connections between them). Cellular stress and sub-clinical inflammation associated with altered metabolic states (e.g. diabetes, obesity, hypertension, polycystic ovary syndrome) are among the research topics covered.

Principal Investigators

Dr Tom Barber

Dr Tom Barber
Associate Clinical Professor

Research interests: Hormonal control of human energy metabolism


Dr Dawn Collins
Associate Professor

Research interests: Neuronal control of stress responses

Dimitris Grammatopoulos

Prof Dimitris Grammatopoulos
Professor of Molecular Medicine

Research interests: Stress hormones in pregnancy and metabolic disease


Dr Jurgen Muller
Assistant Professor

Research interests: Regulation of signal transduction

Philip McTernan

Dr Philip McTernan
Associate Professor (Reader)

Research interests: Relationships between obesity and inflammation

Naila Rabbani

Dr Naila Rabbani
Associate Professor

Research interests: Dyslipidaemia, protein damage, glyoxylase, B-vitamin status

Harpal Randeva

Dr Harpal Randeva
Senior Lecturer (Clinical)

Research interests: Clinically-applied molecular endocrinology


Dr Narendra Reddy
Clinical Lecturer

Research interests: Role of brown fat in human metabolism

Ponnusamy Saravanan

Dr Ponnusamy Saravanan
Associate Clinical Professor

Research interests: Effects of maternal Vit B12/Folate status on metabolic disease

Paul Thornalley

Prof Paul Thornalley
Professor in Systems Biology

Research interests: Glyoxalase, protein damage, nrf2 actions, B-vitamin status


Dr Gyanendra Tripathi
Associate Professor

Research interests: Regulation of cell organelle dysfunctions in adipocytes


Prof David Spanswick
Professor of Molecular Neurosciences

Research interests: Neuronal circuits in appetite control and pain perception

Victor Zammit

Prof Victor Zammit
Head of Division of Metabolic and Vascular Health

Research interests: Enzymology of triglyceride and fatty acid metabolism

 mark christian

Dr Mark Christian 
Associate Professor of Metabolic and Vascular Health
Tel: 02476 968585

Research interests: Determining the mechanisms that
regulate gene expression in development and metabolism.

Recent Publications

  • Canal, F., Palygin, O., Pankratov, Y., Correa, S.A.L. & J. Muller (2011) 'Compartmentalization of the MAPK scaffold protein KSR1 modulates synaptic plasticity in hippocampal neurons' FASEB J 25, 2362-72.
  • Chittari, M. V., P. McTernan, N. Bawazeer, K. Constantinides, M. Ciotola, J. P. O'Hare, S. Kumar and A. Ceriello (2011). "Impact of acute hyperglycaemia on endothelial function and retinal vascular reactivity in patients with Type 2 diabetes." Diabet Med 28(4): 450-454.
  • Markovic, D., A. Punn, H. Lehnert and D. K. Grammatopoulos (2011). "Molecular determinants and feedback circuits regulating type 2 CRH receptor signal integration." Biochim Biophys Acta 1813(5): 896-907.
  • Rabbani N and Thornalley PJ, 2011. “Glyoxalase in diabetes, obesity and related disorders” Semin Cell Dev Biol. 22(3):309-17

  • Rabbani, N., A. Adaikalakoteswari, K. Rossing, P. Rossing, L. Tarnow, H. H. Parving and P. J. Thornalley (2011). "Effect of Irbesartan treatment on plasma and urinary markers of protein damage in patients with type 2 diabetes and microalbuminuria." Amino Acids. 10.1007/s00726-011-0857-7
  • Rafnsson, S. B., P. Saravanan, R. S. Bhopal and C. S. Yajnik (2011). "Is a low blood level of vitamin B12 a cardiovascular and diabetes risk factor? A systematic review of cohort studies." Eur J Nutr 50(2): 97-106.
  • Schisano, B., G. Tripathi, K. McGee, P. G. McTernan and A. Ceriello (2011). "Glucose oscillations, more than constant high glucose, induce p53 activation and a metabolic memory in human endothelial cells." Diabetologia 54(5): 1219-1226.
  • Tan, B. K., R. Adya, J. Chen, H. Lehnert, L. J. Sant Cassia and H. S. Randeva (2011). "Metformin treatment exerts antiinvasive and antimetastatic effects in human endometrial carcinoma cells." J Clin Endocrinol Metab 96(3): 808-816.
  • Wurie, H. R., L. Buckett and V. A. Zammit (2011). "Evidence that Diacylglycerol acyltransferase-1 (DGAT-1) has dual membrane-topology in the endoplasmic reticulum of HePG2 cells." J Biol Chem. M111.251900 [pii] 10.1074/jbc.M111.251900