ISSF Springboard Fellowship

Genomic and functional characterisation of cell-type specific epigenetic and genetic mechanisms implicated in human obesity.

How genes and the environment impact human obesity and diabetes susceptibility.

Epigenetic switches on our DNA turn nearby genes on and off in response to our environments without changing the underlying genetic code. These switches are implicated in many aspects of obesity and diabetes, but finding and proving which switches cause human disease is a major challenge. My research uses innovative screening and refinement strategies to discover epigenetic switches in human cells that may contribute to obesity and diabetes, and genes these switches are likely to affect. I then use models of human disease to investigate whether and how these switches and genes contribute to the development of obesity and diabetes. With these convergent approaches, my aim is to discover new mechanisms and treatment targets for human obesity and diabetes.


I am a clinician scientist specialising in the aetiology and pathogenesis of obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D), and honorary consultant in endocrinology and diabetes. I trained in Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Birmingham (199-2005). I then undertook a PhD supported by an MRC training fellowship at Imperial College (2012-2016) investigating the genetic and epigenetic basis of human obesity and T2D using high-throughput genomics. In 2018, I joined the Institute of Clinical Sciences as a Chain Florey Lecturer then IPPRF Fellow to develop targeted experimental approaches to study gene-regulatory mechanisms in human cell and animal models of disease. My current research program, supported by a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship, combines statistical and functional genomics to discover and characterise in detail mechanisms by which epigenetic modifications regulate human obesity and metabolic disease pathogenesis.