Faculty of Medical Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Catherine Arden

Newcastle University Research Fellow



I obtained a BSc in biomedical science from the University of Hull in 2001 and a PhD from Newcastle University in 2004. My interest in diabetes research continued during post-doc positions in the Diabetes Research Group at Newcastle University and during a travel fellowship at the University of Michigan, USA in 2007 (funded by EMBO/EFSD). In 2008 I was awarded the RD Lawrence Fellowship from Diabetes UK followed by the Newcastle University Research Fellowship in 2014. 


PhD - Newcastle University, UK
BSc(hons) - Hull University, UK

Previous Positions

2014-Present: Newcastle University Research Fellow

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


Diabetes UK
Biochemical Society
European Association for the Study of Diabetes


Research Interests

My overarching research aim is to understand the mechanisms underlying the impairment in function and survival of pancreatic beta-cells in type 2 diabetes, cells with a critical role in regulating blood glucose homeostasis. I am particularly interested in how glucose sensing impacts on both beta-cell function and survival. My research falls into two main research areas: i) delineating the pathways mediating cell survival. vs death in type 2 diabetes, with a particular focus on autophagy; ii) identifying mechanisms for preserving the metabolic function of beta-cells. These areas are particularly relevant given the loss of beta-cell function and increased cell death evident in type 2 diabetes. 

Current Research

i) Role for autophagy in regulating beta-cell survival – 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) Impact of glucose sensing on beta-cell autophagy - aim is to determine how glucose sensing impacts on autophagy in the pancreatic beta-cell under conditions mimicking type 2 diabetes.

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.

Postgraduate Supervision

I currently supervise 3 PhD students and 1 MRes student.

Esteem Indicators

  • Newcastle University Research Fellowship
  • Diabetes UK RD Lawrence Fellowship
  • EFSD Albert Renold Travel Fellowship
  • EMBO Short-Term Travel Fellowship
  • Innovators in Diabetes (iDia) programme recipient


Diabetes UK

Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation

Royal Society



MRC/Faculty of Medical Sciences PhD studentship


Undergraduate Teaching

Supervision of final year undergraduate student laboratory projects.


Postgraduate Teaching

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