Hormonal control of metabolism and nutrition are fundamental to health throughout the life course, from pre-conception to later life. Dysregulation of these controls play a key role in the development of diseases, but also offer potential targets for treatment and intervention.
Our bodies have evolved intricate mechanisms to control body function, but our rapidly changing environment and lifestyles mean our bodies are no longer optimally adapted.
The availability of cheap, energy-dense foods coupled with much more sedentary lives, and a 24-hour culture which means our behaviour has become desynchronised from our biological clocks, has led to excess weight gain and an increase in metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes and hyperlipidaemia, as well as cardiovascular disease.
This increase poses a major global health challenge. At Manchester, we cover all aspects of research into the understanding and prevention of these diseases which claim millions of lives worldwide every year.
Combating metabolic disease
Our research covers an understanding of how the body regulates appetite, body weight and circulating levels of nutrients.
We also explore what goes wrong to allow the development of obesity and diabetes, and how the primary and secondary effects of the diseases are treated.
This is achieved through world-leading basic and translational research, epidemiology and preventive medicine.
The current realignment of health and social care in Greater Manchester (DevoMANC), coupled to advanced health informatics, puts Manchester in a unique position for integrated research, innovation and implementation.
Major research activities
How the body regulates appetite and body weight
The major determinant of body weight is the amount of food we eat. This itself is a balance between the natural drive to eat in order to replace used nutrients (hunger) and the signals from our gastrointestinal tract that report we have eaten adequately, and which switch off the process of eating to allow efficient digestion of our ingested food (satiety).
Tackling the effects of metabolic and endocrine disease
Metabolic diseases, notably diabetes and obesity, are some of the biggest problems affecting humanity. While people rarely die from the primary clinical signs, secondary complications such as atherosclerosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and diabetic microvascular pathology, are major killers.
Understanding diet and nutrition
Diet and nutrition impact on health from before birth to later life, playing major roles in the development of disease. In addition to the role of diet in the development of obesity, malnutrition is also a major global issue particularly in ageing, and is common in association with diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, stroke and cancer.
Dr Martin Rutter
Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Physician
Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Physician Martin is an Honorary Consultant Physician at Manchester Diabetes Centre, Manchester Royal infirmary, where he is lead physician for the islet cell transplantation service and co-lead for the diabetes-renal service. His main research interest is the pathogenesis of cardiometabolic diseases.
Professor Simon Luckman
Brackenbury Chair of Physiology
Simon’s research focuses on the brain and how it regulates appetite, blood glucose levels, body weight and energy expenditure. Research in his lab uses a multidisciplinary approach covering genes, cells, tissues and behaviour, to explore whether they can be manipulated to control metabolic diseases.
Dr David Bechtold
David is interested in the neurological and endocrine systems that govern energy balance, with a particular interest in the role played by the circadian clock in strengthening homeostatic controls, and how clock disruption may contribute to the development and severity of metabolic disease.
Professor Neil Hanley
Professor of Medicine: Endocrine Science
Neil researches human developmental biology, focusing on endocrinology, and associated aspects of stem cell biology. A major interest in his lab is how beta cells develop in the pancreas, and the potential for cell replacement and regeneration of beta cells as a novel therapy for diabetes.
Training and education
We are strongly committed to training and education at both postgraduate and undergraduate level.
Many of our PIs are members of flagship funded PhD programmes within the Faculty: