Imperial College London

Dr Alejandra Tomas

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction

Senior Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 3364a.tomas-catala Website CV




329ICTEM buildingHammersmith Campus





Dr Alejandra Tomas is a Senior Lecturer at the Section of Cell Biology and Functional Genomics, part of the Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction, Imperial College London.

She obtained her PhD in Biochemistry at University College London in 2003, where she worked on the elucidation of the cellular roles of the calcium- and membrane-binding family of annexin proteins.

She then took up a postdoctoral position at the University of Geneva Medical School, Switzerland, where she analysed diverse aspects of the regulation of insulin secretion in pancreatic beta cells, primarily related to the role of the cytoskeleton in insulin exocytosis and the relationship between the secretory and endocytic pathways.

In 2009 she joined the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Geneva where she focused on the study of receptor trafficking along the endocytic pathway, an area of research she continued to develop back at UCL following her return to the UK in 2011.

In 2015, Alejandra was awarded a New Investigator Research Grant by the MRC to set up an independent research group at Imperial College London to study the role of membrane receptor trafficking in the modulation of signalling and function of pancreatic beta cells.

Since then, her laboratory has pursued a number of investigations related to the study of the spatiotemporal regulation of signalling of the GLP-1 receptor and other key receptors involved in the control of blood glucose levels and related metabolic parameters.

She is also a Director of the MSc Applied Genomics course.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

de Jesus DS, Mak TCS, Wang Y-F, et al., 2021, Dysregulation of the Pdx1/Ovol2/Zeb2 axis in dedifferentiated β-cells triggers the induction of genes associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition in diabetes, Molecular Metabolism, Vol:53, ISSN:2212-8778

McGlone ER, Manchanda Y, Jones B, et al., 2021, Receptor Activity-Modifying Protein 2 (RAMP2) alters glucagon receptor trafficking in hepatocytes with functional effects on receptor signalling, Molecular Metabolism, Vol:53, ISSN:2212-8778, Pages:1-11

Lucey M, Ashik T, Marzook A, et al., 2021, Acylation of the incretin peptide exendin-4 directly impacts GLP-1 receptor signalling and trafficking, Molecular Pharmacology, Vol:100, ISSN:0026-895X, Pages:319-334

Pickford P, Lucey M, Rujan R-M, et al., 2021, Partial agonism improves the anti-hyperglycaemic efficacy of an oxyntomodulin-derived GLP-1R/GCGR co-agonist, Molecular Metabolism, Vol:51, ISSN:2212-8778

Marzook A, Chen S, Pickford P, et al., 2021, Evaluation of efficacy- versus affinity-driven agonism with biased GLP-1R ligands P5 and exendin-F1, Biochemical Pharmacology, Vol:190, ISSN:0006-2952, Pages:1-12

Cheung R, Pizza G, Chabosseau P, et al., 2021, Glucose-dependent miR-125b is a negative regulator of β-cell function, Biorxiv

Marzook A, Tomas A, Jones B, 2021, The interplay of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor trafficking and signalling in pancreatic beta cells, Frontiers in Endocrinology, Vol:12, ISSN:1664-2392, Pages:1-12

Arcones AC, Vila-Bedmar R, Mirasierra M, et al., 2021, GRK2 regulates GLP-1R-mediated early phase insulin secretion in vivo, BMC Biology, Vol:19, ISSN:1741-7007

Manchanda Y, Bitsi S, Kang Y, et al., 2021, Spatiotemporal control of GLP-1 receptor activity, Current Opinion in Endocrine and Metabolic Research, Vol:16, ISSN:2451-9650, Pages:19-27

Lagou V, Jiang L, Ulrich A, et al., 2021, Random glucose GWAS in 493,036 individuals provides insights into diabetes pathophysiology, complications and treatment stratification, Medrxiv

Jones B, McGlone ER, Fang Z, et al., 2021, Genetic and biased agonist-mediated reductions in β-arrestin recruitment prolong cAMP signalling at glucagon family receptors, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol:296, ISSN:0021-9258, Pages:1-15

Georgiadou E, Muralidharan C, Martinez M, et al., 2021, Mitofusins Mfn1 and Mfn2 are required to preserve glucose-but not incretin- stimulated beta cell connectivity and insulin secretion, Biorxiv

Jones B, Fang Z, Chen S, et al., 2020, Ligand-specific factors influencing GLP-1 receptor post-endocytic trafficking and degradation in pancreatic beta cells, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Vol:212, ISSN:1422-0067, Pages:1-24

Ast J, Arvaniti A, Fine NHF, et al., 2020, Author Correction: Super-resolution microscopy compatible fluorescent probes reveal endogenous glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor distribution and dynamics., Nature Communications, Vol:11, ISSN:2041-1723, Pages:1-1

Carrat GR, Haythorne E, Tomas A, et al., 2020, The type 2 diabetes gene product STARD10 is a phosphoinositide-binding protein that controls insulin secretory granule biogenesis, Molecular Metabolism, Vol:40, ISSN:2212-8778

Pickford P, Lucey M, Fang Z, et al., 2020, Signalling, trafficking and glucoregulatory properties of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists exendin-4 and lixisenatide., British Journal of Pharmacology, Vol:177, ISSN:0007-1188, Pages:3905-3923

Jones B, Pickford P, Lucey M, et al., 2020, Disconnect between signalling potency and in vivo efficacy of pharmacokinetically optimised biased glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, Molecular Metabolism, Vol:37, ISSN:2212-8778

Fang Z, Chen S, Pickford P, et al., 2020, The influence of peptide context on signaling and trafficking of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor biased agonists, Acs Pharmacology & Translational Science, Vol:3, ISSN:2575-9108, Pages:345-360

Tomas A, Jones B, Leech C, 2020, New insights into beta cell GLP-1 receptor and cAMP signaling, Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol:432, ISSN:0022-2836, Pages:1347-1366

Khan R, Tomas A, Rutter GA, 2020, Effects on pancreatic Beta and other Islet cells of the glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, Peptides, Vol:125, ISSN:0196-9781

Ast J, Arvaniti A, Fine NHF, et al., 2020, Super-resolution microscopy compatible fluorescent probes reveal endogenous glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor distribution and dynamics, Nature Communications, Vol:11, ISSN:2041-1723

Xu W, Ashford FB, Bitsi S, et al., 2020, Testosterone enhances GLP-1 efficacy at the plasma membrane and endosomes to augment insulin secretion in male pancreatic β cells, Biorxiv

Fremaux J, Venin C, Mauran L, et al., 2019, Ureidopeptide GLP-1 analogues with prolonged activity in vivo via signal bias and altered receptor trafficking, Chemical Science, Vol:42, ISSN:2041-6520, Pages:9872-9879

Buenaventura T, Bitsi S, Laughlin WE, et al., 2019, Agonist-induced membrane nanodomain clustering drives GLP-1 receptor responses in pancreatic beta cells., PLOS Biology, Vol:17, ISSN:1544-9173, Pages:1-40

Watson S, Duff J, Bardi I, et al., 2019, Biomimetic electromechanical stimulation to maintain adult myocardial slices in vitro, Nature Communications, Vol:10, ISSN:2041-1723

Pernaute B, Sánchez Nieto JM, Pérez-Montero S, et al., 2019, DRP1-mediated regulation of mitochondrial dynamics determines the apoptotic response upon embryonic differentiation, Biorxiv

Jones B, Buenaventura T, Kanda N, et al., 2018, Targeting GLP-1 receptor trafficking to improve agonist efficacy, Nature Communications, Vol:9, ISSN:2041-1723

Jones B, Bloom S, Buenaventura T, et al., 2018, Control of insulin secretion by GLP-1, Peptides, Vol:100, ISSN:0196-9781, Pages:75-84

Podewin T, Ast J, Broichhagen J, et al., 2018, Conditional and reversible activation of class A and B G protein-coupled receptors using tethered pharmacology, Acs Central Science, Vol:4, ISSN:2374-7943, Pages:166-179

Buenaventura T, Kanda N, Douzenis PC, et al., 2017, A targeted RNAi screen identifies endocytic trafficking factors that control GLP-1 receptor signaling in pancreatic beta cells, Diabetes, Vol:67, ISSN:0012-1797, Pages:385-399

Jones BJ, Scopelliti R, Tomas A, et al., 2017, Potent prearranged positive allosteric modulators of the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor, Chemistryopen, Vol:6, ISSN:2191-1363, Pages:501-505

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