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

Google Scholar: Click here.


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
  • North East Diabetes Trust
  • Royal Society
  • EFSD
  • EMBO
  • MRC/Faculty of Medical Sciences PhD studentship
  • Wellcome Trust ISSF grant


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