Our research themes

We strive to unravel the complexities of what causes metabolic diseases and obesity, the overlap with their co-morbidities and other diseases and how this knowledge can be used for better treatments. Our major research themes include:

Obesity and the Central Nervous System (CNS)

We explore the neural, endocrine and molecular mechanisms that contribute to obesity. These include investigating:

  • How the CNS senses the metabolic state and integrates multiple peripheral factors to coordinate energy expenditure and appetite
  • The neural processes underpinning this including the tissue crosstalk between the periphery/gut and the CNS
  • The impact of metabolic dysfunction in obesity and T2D on higher cortical function and behaviour
  • The role of adipose tissue including brown/beige adipose tissue in lipid metabolism and energy balance
  • New treatments, such as human monoclonal antibody therapeutics
  • The mechanism of weight loss through bariatric procedures
  • Exogenous risk factors such as diet and stress

Glucose homeostasis and Type 2 Diabetes (T2D)

We are interested in deciphering the mechanisms contributing to T2D, including:

  • Signalling mechanisms involved in glucose homeostasis
  • The role of lipids
  • The molecular processes driving insulin resistance
  • How insulin secretion is attenuated in T2D
  • The roles of the CNS, myokines, adipokines and hepatokines
  • The nature and impact of tissue crosstalk in glucose metabolism
  • The effects of diet, the microbiota and inflammation

Complications of obesity and T2D

There are numerous co-morbidities of obesity and T2D. Our work focuses on understanding:

  • The molecular mechanisms of how obesity promotes cancer (prostate, hepatic cellular, colon, breast cancers and cachexia)
  • How obesity promotes hepatic steatosis and the progression to liver diseases such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and liver cancer
  • The processes driving atherosclerosis, cardiovascular and renal diseases
  • How T2D/obesity targets are linked to those of comorbidities such as diabetic neuropathy and polycystic ovarian syndrome