+ Facts and figures

Theme leader
Prof Stuart Logan

01392 722963

Total investment*

Research income*


*Total University investment.

Our research moves health discoveries from the lab into clinical practice.

Translational Medicine

Translational Medicine builds on existing strengths in clinical and translational research in diabetes and chronic disease, public health, clinical psychology and mood disorders, and exercise and health science.

REF case studies

Case studyDescription
Extending the availability of drugs to combat Alzheimer's disease
About 800,000 people are living with Alzheimer’s disease in the UK today, at a cost of about £23billion a year. Researchers produced a report in 2010 about the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of available drugs, which formed the basis for revised NICE guidelines (2011), recommending more widespread drug usage. In 2012 NHS data showed a big increase in drug prescribing since 2010.
How stopping insulin improves quality of life
The treatment of patients with neonatal diabetes has been transformed by the research of Professors Andrew Hattersley (FRS) and Sian Ellard. A new diagnostic test was introduced and relevant patients were switched from insulin injections to oral therapy. As a result, patients in 77 countries across five continents now benefit from improved care, a better quality of life and reduced healthcare costs.
Improving access to effective treatments for depression
Depression is a major public health problem producing substantial decrements in health and well-being, with 15 per cent lifetime prevalence, affecting 350 million people worldwide. The Mood Disorders Centre (MDC) has improved treatment for depression by understanding psychological mechanisms underpinning depression; translating this into innovative treatments and prevention interventions, evaluated in clinical trials; and improving dissemination, delivery, and access to treatments.
Personalising treatments for patients of Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY)
The diagnosis and treatment of patients with Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY) has been revolutionised by the research of Professors Andrew Hattersley (FRS) and Sian Ellard. Prior to this, up to 90 per cent of patients with MODY were misdiagnosed as having type 1 or type 2 diabetes. They showed patients could be stratified to achieve delivery of the most appropriate therapy and, as a result, as many as 15,000 patients worldwide have now gained a better quality of life.
The effects of exercise on mental health and nicotine addiction

Researchers in Exeter Sport and Health Sciences (SHS) have conducted:

  • Laboratory studies to identify the dose of exercise that is sufficient to acutely impact on affect, mood and smoking-related outcomes.
  • Rigorous randomised controlled trials to evaluate chronic interventions to increase physical activity among depressed patients, and smokers wishing to reduce or quit.
  • Rigorous systematic reviews and meta-analyses to inform guidance for health care practitioners and policy makers.
Using beetroot juice to enhance sports performance
Professor Andrew Jones, Dr Stephen Bailey, Dr Anni Vanhatalo, and Dr Daryl Wilkerson, with their University of Exeter Medical School colleagues, have completed original research into the physiological responses of humans to dietary nitrate (beetroot juice) supplementation. This research has provided new insights into the importance of the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway to metabolic and vascular control, with implications for the maintenance or enhancement of cardiovascular health, muscle efficiency, and exercise performance across the lifespan.

Our impact

The 'fat' gene

It is now easier to identify people susceptible to obesity thanks to our collaborative research with the University of Oxford, which shows that obesity is linked to the FTO gene. The study suggested that although improving lifestyle is key to reducing obesity, some people may find it harder to lose weight because of their genes.

Combating diseases

A range of avenues for treating diseases have been opened thanks to Tim Frayling's discovery of genes that influence height. This study gave scientists an insight into how the body grows and develops normally and may shed light on diseases such as osteoarthritis and cancer.

Research carried out by members of the Peninsula Technology Assessment Group (PenTAG) demonstrated the cost-effectiveness ratio of Alzheimer's drugs per quality adjusted life year gained. As a result, 2011 NICE guidance on Alzheimer's treatments were adjusted to provide the treatments to a wider range of patients. It was estimated that 110,000 people in England and Wales with untreated Alzheimer's are now prescribed treatments, leading to an expected average increase in cognition of four per cent.

Quitting smoking

We have found new ways of reducing nicotine cravings, though our findings that physical exercise can help people quit smoking. The study revealed for the first time that changes in brain activity, triggered by physical exercise, may help reduce cigarette cravings.

Treating depression

Recurring depression can be treated through mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT), as opposed to prescription drugs, found staff in the Mood Disorders Centre. MBCT proved as effective as drugs in preventing a relapse and more effective in enhancing peoples’ quality of life. The study also showed MBCT to be as cost-effective as prescription drugs in helping people with a history of depression stay well in the long-term.

Identifying new treatments for diabetes

Many neonatal diabetes sufferers can now take sulphonylurea tablets instead of insulin injections thanks to the Wellcome Trust funded work of Prof Andrew Hattersley. The work was carried out by the Peninsula College for Medicine and Dentistry before it part of the University of Exeter Medical School. Watch the video below for more information.