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Professor Noel Morgan describes his research into the future prevention of type 1 diabetes

Dr Kate Ellacott - molecular mechanisms which control food intake and body weight by the brain

Cell Biology of Diabetes

The Cell Biology of Diabetes group's research includes investigating RNA mediated mechanisms of disease in Type 2 Diabetes along with diabetes complications.

Its aim is to discover the underlying mechanisms which drive changes in beta cell fate, function and survival in diabetes and to discover therapeutic treatment targets for managing the disease. Similarly, it is investigating those mechanisms which lead to the development of diabetes complications, such as diabetic retinopathy, nephropathy and cardiovascular disease in a number of different relevant primary human cell lines.

The group's interest in Diabetes forms part of wider research into understanding mechanisms that drive cellular senescence and age-related disease.

Professor Lorna Harries  Professor of Molecular Genetics
Associate Professor Mattia Frontini Associate Professor of Cell Biology and BHF Research Fellow
Dr Craig Beall  Senior Lecturer
Dr Nick Owens Lecturer in Data Science
Dr Carol Yang Lecturer in Cell Biology
Dr Katarina Kos Clinical Senior Lecturer 
Dr Nicola Jeffrey Post Doctorate Research Fellow
Dr Paul Weightman Potter  Postdoctorate Research Fellow
Dr Ana Miguel Cruz Postdoctorate Research Associate
Jodie Evans Graduate Research Associate 
Jiping Zhang  PhD Student
Kathryn Hinton PhD Student
Katie Partridge PhD Student
Asmaa Alkhalidi PhD Student
Wyn Firth PhD Student

The group is always very happy to set up collaborations with other groups working in Diabetes and have had many successful projects working with the Monogenic Diabetes and Islet Biology Group, as well as College of Medicine and Health researchers in other disciplines.

External and international collaborations include:

  • Richard Faragher and Lizzy Ostler (Brighton) 
  • Roger Smith and Jay Dudhiya (RVC) 
  • James Brown (Aston)
  • The Jackson Laboratory (US)
  • UCONN (US)
  • Murdoch University (AUS)
  • NIH (US)
  • MIGAL Institute (Israel)
  • Monash University (AUS)
  • Henry Ford Hospital (US)
  • CALICO (US).

Recent key papers

Please find a selection of our key and landmark papers below.  Full publications lists are available on individual biographies:

Cellular stressors may alter islet hormone cell proportions by moderation of alternative splicing patterns. Nicola Jeffery, Sarah Richardson, David Chambers, Noel G. Morgan, Lorna W. Harries. Human Molecular Genetics 2019 Aug 15;28(16):2763-2774.

A cautionary tale: the non-causal association between type 2 diabetes risk SNP, rs7756992, and levels of non-coding RNA Locke JM, Wei FY, Tomizawa K, Weedon MN, Harries LW, CDKAL1-v1. Diabetologia. 2015 Apr;58(4):745-8.

Targeted allelic expression profiling in human islets identifies cis-regulatory effects for multiple variants identified by type 2 diabetes genome-wide association studies. Locke JM, Hysenaj G, Wood AR, Weedon MN, Harries LW.  Diabetes. 2015 Apr;64(4):1484-91.

The Cell Biology of Diabetes research group uses the following research facilities and technologies:

  • The Exeter Sequencing Service
  • RILD Molecular Biology Resources
  • NIHR Clinical Research Facility (CRF)
  • High Performance Computing 

More details of all of these can be found here.