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Dr Kate Ellacott describes her group's research into molecular mechanisms which control food intake and body weight by the brain.

Dr Craig Beall's research is into type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and how to prevent hypoglycaemia or restore hypoglycaemia awareness.

Integrated Physiology of Diabetes

Diabetes impacts the function of multiple organs of the body, and the research group is trying to improve understanding of how different organs of the body coordinate to control whole body energy levels and how this is influenced by obesity and diabetes.

The group works in the broad field of 'neuroendocrinology', which is the study of how hormones act in the brain. More specifically we are trying to improve understanding of how our body controls its energy levels using pre-clinical animal and cell models. This includes projects focused on understanding how the brain regulates food intake, how the body detects and responds to low blood sugar, and how the immune systems in the brain and the rest of the body coordinate with each other to regulate metabolism.

It is the group's goal to advance understanding and discover potential treatment targets for obesity and diabetes.

Integrated Physiology of Diabetes group is comprised of cell biologists, animal physiologists, and neuroscientists, with expertise in the following:

• Rodent physiology and behaviour
• Cellular energetics
• Molecular biology
• Neurobiology
• Neuroendocrinology

Further information can be found on the Exeter Neuroendocrine Research Group (ENRG) pages.

Prof Kate Ellacott  Associate Professor
Dr Craig Beall Senior Lecturer
Dr Paul Weightman Potter  Research Fellow
Dr Bhargav Ganesh Naveen Graduate Research Assistant 
Dr Aminata Hallimat Cissé Postdoctoral Research Associate 
Katie Partridge PhD Student
Jiping Zhang PhD Student
Asmaa Alkhalidi  PhD Student
Katherine Pye Research Technician
Wyn Firth PhD Student

The group's funders include:

  • Diabetes UK
  • Medical Research Council
  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)
  • European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD)
  • Novo Nordisk UK Research Foundation
  • Northcott Devon Medical Foundation
  • Society for Endocrinology
  • British Society for Neuroendocrinology

Our main collaborations are with: Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (USA), Prof Matt Whiteman, Prof Andy Randall, Prof Tony Pickering, Prof H. Charles Manning

Lab Alumni include: Lydia Hanna, Ben Hall, Nicole Morrissey, Josie Robb, Julia Vlachaki Walker, Yasaman Malekizadeh.

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

Extracellular ATP Increases Glucose Metabolism in Skeletal Muscle Cells in a P2 Receptor Dependent Manner but Does Not Contribute to Palmitate-Induced Insulin Resistance. Cruz AM, Beall C. Front Physiol. 2020 Sep 25;11:567378. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2020.567378. PMID: 33101053; PMCID: PMC7545032.

Regulation of food intake by astrocytes in the brainstem dorsal vagal complex MacDonald AJ, Holmes FE, Beall C, Pickering AE, Ellacott KLJ. . Glia. 2020 Jun;68(6):1241-1254. doi: 10.1002/glia.23774. Epub 2019 Dec 27. PMID: 31880353; PMCID: PMC7187409.

The metabolic response to inflammation in astrocytes is regulated by nuclear factor-kappa B signaling. Robb JL, Hammad NA, Weightman Potter PG, Chilton JK, Beall C, Ellacott KLJ.  Glia. 2020 Nov;68(11):2246-2263. doi: 10.1002/glia.23835. Epub 2020 Apr 10. PMID: 32277522.

Basal fatty acid oxidation increases after recurrent low glucose in human primary astrocytes. Weightman Potter PG, Vlachaki Walker JM, Robb JL, Chilton JK, Williamson R, Randall AD, Ellacott KLJ, Beall C.  Diabetologia. 2019 Jan;62(1):187-198. doi: 10.1007/s00125-018-4744-6. Epub 2018 Oct 6. PMID: 30293112; PMCID: PMC6290858.

AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activator A-769662 increases intracellular calcium and ATP release from astrocytes in an AMPK-independent manner. Vlachaki Walker JM, Robb JL, Cruz AM, Malhi A, Weightman Potter PG, Ashford MLJ, McCrimmon RJ, Ellacott KLJ, Beall C.  Diabetes Obes Metab. 2017 Jul;19(7):997-1005. doi: 10.1111/dom.12912. Epub 2017 Apr 21. PMID: 28211632.

Evidence for a novel functional role of astrocytes in the acute homeostatic response to high-fat diet intake in mice. Buckman LB, Thompson MM, Lippert RN, Blackwell TS, Yull FE, Ellacott KL.  Mol Metab. 2014 Oct 16;4(1):58-63. doi: 10.1016/j.molmet.2014.10.001. PMID:

Further details can be found here: