Systems biology research

In addition to nutrients, what are the key inputs that maintain beta cell health in the long term and regulate activity in the short term? We investigate the following key areas:

  • Islet cell connections : brain, adipose tissue, liver, microbiome (Withers, Gardiner, Dhillo, Bloom)
  • Islet innervation and vascularisation: in vivo studies after islet implantation into the eye (Salem)
  • Bioengineering: optogenes, photopharmacology (Withers, Oliver, Rutter, externals) 
  • Imaging beta cell function in vivo: MRI, PET, OPT, fluorescent probes (Long, French)
  • Mathematical modelling, bioinformatics (Ferrer)

Theme leads

Professor Dominic Withers holds a Clinical Chair in Diabetes and Endocrinology in the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre. His focus is in understanding the key role of insulin/insulin-like growth factor signalling in mammalian physiology and in the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and ageing. Further information on Professor Withers

Dr Victoria Salem is an NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Diabetes and Endocrinology within the Section of Investigative Medicine. Her research interests are in appetite control, neuroendocrinology and the gut-brain axis as applied to the treatment of obesity. Further information on Dr Salem

Professor Sir Stephen Bloom FRS is Head of Division for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism and currently leads a research group investigating hypothalamic appetite control systems and gut hormones. Further information on Professor Bloom