Imperial College London

Dr Alice Pollard

Faculty of MedicineInstitute of Clinical Sciences

Research Associate







Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus






Dr Pollard's work focuses on the role of adipose tissue (fat)-resident stem cells in health and disease. Her current projects encompass the role of stem-cell associated metabolic dysfunction in obesity and diabetes progression, with emphasis on ex-vivo manipulation of epigenetics to re-wire and correct metabolic defects. She maintains close ties with Imperial NHS Trust clinicians and industrial partners to investigate the efficacy of small molecules for the treatment of metabolic diseases.

Previous work identified AMP-activated protein kinase, a master regulator of energy homeostasis, as a regulator of adipocyte differentiation and stem cell fate (Pollard et al Nat Metab 2019). These findings led to further enquiry into the role of metabolic regulators, including AMPK, in stem cell fate decisions. As aberrant stem cell differentiation and dysfunction are hallmarks (and now known drivers) of many metabolic diseases, including obesity, our lab has set out to systematically map, interrogate and associate metabolic signaling pathways, including nutrient sensing and lipid homeostasis, in adipose-derived stem cells. 

Using a combination of immortalized human ADSCs, cells isolated from healthy volunteers and patient-derived ADSCs obtained from bariatric surgery, our lab has identified several novel targets altered by AMPK activity, as well as through other metabolic pathways, including mTORC signaling, and those associated with adipose tissue fibrosis.

Dr Pollard is a consultant with ICON (Imperial Consultants) and offers expertise in a range of laboratory techniques, experimental strategy and conceptualization. She is a regular collaborator on adipose studies, in vivo metabolic study design and imaging techniques. 

For further information on collaborations, consultation or any postgraduate opportunities please email



Bustraan S, Bennett J, Whilding C, et al., 2024, AMPK activation suppresses leptin expression independently of adipogenesis in primary murine adipocytes., Biochem J

Carling D, Bevan C, Leach D, et al., 2023, AMPK activation protects against prostate cancer by inducing a catabolic cellular state, Cell Reports, Vol:42, ISSN:2211-1247, Pages:1-21

Nguyen-Tu M-S, Harris J, Martinez-Sanchez A, et al., 2022, Opposing effects on regulated insulin secretion of acute vs chronic stimulation of AMP-activated protein kinase, Diabetologia, Vol:65, ISSN:0012-186X, Pages:997-1011

Wilson L, Pollard AE, Penfold L, et al., 2021, Chronic activation of AMP-activated protein kinase leads to early-onset polycystic kidney phenotype, Clinical Science, Vol:135, ISSN:0143-5221, Pages:2393-2408

Pollard AE, Martins L, Muckett PJ, et al., 2019, AMPK activation protects against diet induced obesity through Ucp1-independent thermogenesis in subcutaneous white adipose tissue, Nature Metabolism, Vol:1, ISSN:2522-5812, Pages:340-349

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