I am a Professor of Molecular Nutrition and Metabolism at Cambridge University. My main activity is to do research as a Principal Investigator at the Medical Research Council Metabolic Disease Unit (MRC MDU Unit) and at the Wellcome trust Sanger Institute. I serve as Scientific Director of the Cambridge Phenomics Center, a state-of-the-art center that applies multidisciplinary approaches to murine metabolic phenotyping. I also see patients as an Honorary Consultant in Metabolic Medicine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
The research of my laboratory, the TVPLab (TVPLab, http://tvp.mrl.ims.cam.ac.uk/) focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms linking obesity with insulin resistance, diabetes and cardiometabolic complications and on the development of related therapeutic strategies.
The Vision of the group is to lead the discovery of “the new biological concepts/molecular mechanism s that are going to transform the treatment of obesity and diabetes”.
Our Mission is to unravel the mechanisms controlling energy homeostasis and understand how they fail and cause obesity and diabetes. Our mission is not to find specific drugs. The reason for our existence is to identify the biochemical paths that these drugs should target.
The group is well known by its creativity reflected in the “adipose tissue expandability hypothesis” and the concept of “lipotoxicity” to explain the association between obesity and insulin resistance. We are also leaders in the field of thermogenesis and brown adipose tissue. Here at the Sanger Institute we will be working on a project related to Brown adipose tissue and human iPs cells, funded by an ERC advanced award and will also contribute to the characterization of animal models related to obesity and diabetes modelling human and systems biology derived data.
Our research strategies include a combination of hypothesis driven and non-biased systems approaches that make use of purposely genetically modified animal models, stem cell biology, human biological samples (including induced pluripotent stem cells), and sophisticated omics technologies and bioinformatics integration of large datasets.
Besides doing research I am also interested in management of talent in research intensive institutions. Over the years I have become fascinated by the highly talented PhD students and post docs I came across and on many occasions how their talent was wasted. So I believe a major problem in academic science is the poor management of this great talent to realise its value. Thus I am interested in better understanding and developing innovative approaches to talent management in academic research-intensive institutions. How it is best to manage the talent of academic scientists is an area under researched. However I am confident that some of the insights I have gained from current business management practices may be transferable and contribute to obtain the full value of science.