I obtained a BSc in biomedical science from the University of Hull in 2001 and a PhD from Newcastle University in 2004. I then continued my research in the Diabetes Research Group in Newcastle University, with an EMBO/EFSD travel fellowship to study at the University of Michigan, USA in 2007. In 2008 I was awarded the RD Lawrence Fellowship from Diabetes UK followed by the Newcastle University Research Fellowship in 2013. During this time my research has been centred around the field of glucose sensing in pancreatic beta-cells and hepatocytes, with a particular focus on the key regulatory enzyme glucokinase.
PhD - Newcastle University, UK
BSc(hons) - Hull University, UK
2008-2013: RD Lawrence Research Fellow, University of Newcastle
2007: EMBO/EFSD Travel Fellow, University of Michigan, USA
2004-2007: Research Associate, University of Newcastle
European Association for the Study of Diabetes
My overarching research aim is to understand the mechanisms involved in glucose sensing in pancreatic beta-cells, cells with a critical role in regulating blood glucose homeostasis. My research falls into two main research areas: i) the impact of glucose sensing on beta-cell function with a particular focus on the key regulatory enzyme glucokinase; ii) the impact of glucose sensing on beta-cell survival. These areas are particularly relevant given the loss of beta-cell function and increased cell death evident in type 2 diabetes.
i) Role for autophagy in regulating beta-cell death – aim is to delineate the complex interplay between apoptosis and autophagy in regulating beta-cell death and to understand how a current therapeutic target for type 2 diabetes (GLP-1) alters this crosstalk.
ii) Determining how post-translational modifications of glucokinase impact on glucose sensing – aim is to identify the residues on the glucokinase molecule are modified by post-translational modifications and determine how this impacts on glucose sensing.
iii) Understanding the role of cell connectivity in preserving the pancreatic beta-cell phenotype - aim is to identify the role of cell connectivity in preserving appropriate glucose-sensing by the pancreatic beta-cells.
I currently co-supervise 2 PhD students, 1 MRes student and 1 MSc student.
Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation
MRC/Faculty of Medical Sciences PhD studentship
Supervision of final year undergraduate student laboratory projects.
Supervision of MRes and MSc student laboratory projects
Lecturer/Assessor on MMB8008 Cell Signalling in Health and Disease
Lecturer/Assessor on MMB8035 Diabetes
Internal PhD examiner