Understanding how fat metabolism is regulated in the human body is essential to understanding a number of the major pathologies and disorders affecting human health including type II diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis and fatty liver disease. The incidence of both type II diabetes and obesity are rising rapidly across the globe as a result of over nutrition but we still do not understand how excess macronutrients influence cellular function.
The aim of our group is to understand the regulation of lipid metabolism and its interplay with health and metabolic disease. To address this, we have developed analytical chemistry techniques, including methods using mass spectrometry and high resolution NMR spectroscopy, to analyze a wide range of metabolites in cells, tissue or biofluids as part of a metabolomic approach to defining disease processes.
Currently this programme of work is studying the role hormone receptors (for example the peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARs)) play in regulating lipid metabolism, the interplay between intracellular lipid composition and function and how lipid mediators influence inflammation. This work has also produced industrial collaborations in the areas of drug safety assessment and biomarkers of drug efficacy as part of personalised medicine strategies.
We are also actively involved in the designing of bioinformatic and database tools for metabolomics and lipidomics.