Section of Metabolic Medicine

The Section of Metabolic Medicine focusses on clinical diabetes research. The Section has developed an international reputation in health technology development and assessment, and is applying this to improve glucose control in type 1 diabetes. Research themes are closed loop hormone delivery, novel small molecule sensing, and decision support, and the active technology research programmes are cross-faculty and multidisciplinary, incorporating expertise from the Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Natural Sciences. Imperial is also the co-ordinating centre for the diabetes theme of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, and leads the ADDRESS-2 study of new onset type 1 diabetes.

We are harnessing technology to address the growing challenges of diabetes diagnosis in a young, multi-ethnic population using a combination of genomic, biochemical and clinical parameters to ensure people with new onset diabetes receive the appropriate treatment. This work is in collaboration with Imperial BRC Genomics Facility.

The Section is also addressing the growing prevalence of type 2 diabetes with diabetes prevention studies using text messaging technology and pharmacology, and contributes to both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education within the Faculty of Medicine.

Research groups and section leadership

Research areas

Amongst others, the section focuses on the following research areas:

  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Complications of pregnancy
  • Pituitary disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Continuous Glucose sensor for Type 1 diabetes
  • Clinical Evaluation of an Artificial Pancreas in people with Type 1 Diabetes
  • Using intelligent systems e.g. health apps to support Type 1 Diabetes 
  • Using mobile technology to promote lifestyle changes to prevent Type 2 diabetes

Section leadership

Head of Metabolic Medicine

Professor Desmond Johnston leads a team of researchers investigating early changes in insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity, and other aspects of metabolism in people predisposed to Type 2 diabetes before diabetes develops. He is also interested in the mechanisms underlying the premature vascular disease to which people with diabetes are prone and in the associated metabolic disturbances such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.  He has published hundreds of research papers on this and other related areas.

Further information on Professor Johnston

Research group leads