Professor Mirela Delibegovic

Professor Mirela Delibegovic

Dean for Industrial Engagement in Research & Knowledge Transfer
Personal Chair

I am currently accepting PhDs in Biomedical Sciences and Nutrition and Health.

Professor Mirela Delibegovic
Professor Mirela Delibegovic

Contact Details



2003-2007: American Heart Association Fellowship, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA

1999- 2003: University of Dundee: PhD in Biochemistry, MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit, Dundee, UK.     Supervisor Professor Dame Patricia T.W. Cohen

1995–1999: University of Edinburgh Medical School: BSc Honours in Pharmacology, Edinburgh, UK.

1994–1995: George Heriot’s School, Edinburgh, UK.

1991–1994: Mesa Selimovic Grammar School, Tuzla, Bosnia & Hercegovina


2021-: Vice-Chair: British Heart Foundation Project Grants Committee

2019-2022: British Heart Foundation Project Grants Committee

2015-2021: Diabetes UK Main Research Grants Committee

2018–: University of Aberdeen Lead on the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA)

2015-: Carnegie Trust Assessor

2011 (Inaugural elected member): The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) Young Academy of Scotland



2019-: Dean for Industrial Engagement in Research and Knowledge Exchange

2018-: Director (Diabetes), Aberdeen Cardiovascular and Diabetes Centre, University of Aberdeen

2018-: Systems Physiology Programme Lead, Institute of Medical Sciences

2015-: Professor (Personal Chair), University of Aberdeen

2014-2015: Reader; University of Aberdeen, School of Medical Sciences

2012-2014: Senior Research Fellow, University of Aberdeen, School of medical sciences

2010-2012: Promotion to UoA Grade 7 (Lecturer), University of Aberdeen, School of Biological Sciences

2007-2012: Research Councils UK (RCUK) 5-year tenure-track Fellowship,. University of Aberdeen, School of Biological Sciences.

2003–2007: Harvard Medical School and BIDMC, Department of Medicine.  American Heart Association (AHA) Postdoctoral Personal Fellowship. Mentor: Prof. Benjamin Neel.


PhD, Biochemistry University of Dundee 2003
BSc Hons, Pharmacology University of Edinburgh 1999

Research Areas

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.

Email Me


  • Biochemistry
  • Diabetes
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Research Overview

The aim of our laboratory is to understand how ageing and poor nutrition lead to development of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascuar disease, cancer and other age-associated comorbidities. 

Last year, one of our publications in which we compared two nutritional interventions, achievable in humans, on metabolic health was selected as the Editor's Choice: highlight in Ageing research by Scientific Reports (nature online journal).

Lab News

Congratulations to Mr Oliver Helk for successfully defending his PhD thesis on "Investigating the role of PTP1B in human health: a translational approach" in Dec 2020. Oliver is now the clinical associate professor at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria. Special thanks to his examiners Prof Faisal Kahn (University of Dundee) and Dr Antonio Gonzalez Sanchez (Rowett Institute). 

Congratulations to Ms Fabiana Baganha Carreiras for successfully defending her dual degree MoGlyNet Program Marie-Curie PhD thesis in Leiden and in Aberdeen (May 2020); 2 viva voce, 1 week apart. Online celebrations still managed to be fun!

Congratulations to Ms Sarah Kamli-Salino for successfully defending her Masters by Research (MRes) thesis (Feb 2020) and being awarded the Distinction! Hard work pays off; Sarah is now doing her PhD in the lab funded by MRS/AstraZeneca PhD studentship. Thanks to Sarah's examiners: Dr Paul Meakin (University of Leeds) and Dr Justin Rochford (Rowett Institute).

I recently run the Royal Parks Half Marathon (Oct 2019) raising funds for Diabetes UK; I managed to raise an amazing £1,521 for this great charity and the funds will go towards funding of new research into causes, treatment and care of diabetes! Thanks to all the supporters!!!!

Pre-lab meeting lab photo; from left to right: Nimesh, Jenny, Fiona, Dawn, Oliver, Mirela, Sarah, Besa, Ruta, Shehroz and Rebecca. 

Congratulations to our PhD student, Ruta Dekeryte, for successfully defending her PhD viva and giving an excellent pre-viva seminar on the 26th November 2018! Thanks to her examiners: Prof Victor Gault (University of Ulster) and Dr Ann Rajnicek (University of Aberdeen). 

Congratulations to our PhD student, Samantha Le Sommer, for passing her PhD viva with minor corrections in Dec 2017!!! Thanks to Samantha's examiners: Prof Rose Zamoyska (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Alasdair Mackenzie (internal)

Our "Aberdeen Team" did a 5K Diabetes UK professional conference run and raised £400 towards the work of this great charity (LR: Nimesh Mody, Emma Lees, Mirela Delibegovic, Justin Rochford).  Diabetes UK recognised our Aberdeen team, as their top fundraiser that year:


Current Research

 Research Fellows 

Ruta Dekeryte (2014-2018) was awarded the competitive IMS PhD studentship  to work on the project investigating dietary and pharmacological approaches in combating cognitive dysfunction in models of Alzheimer's disease. Ruta was co-supervised by Prof. Bettina Platt (University of Aberdeen) and Dr. Calum Sutherland (University of Dundee). She is now working as Research Fellow on the Cohen Global Pharmaceuticals project (2018-2021).

 Dr Andrew Mcewan (2019-2021) is research fellow in the lab working on the Cohen Global Pharmaceuticals project. 

Current PhD students

  Fiona Clegg is a SCREDS Clinical Lecturer in Gastroenterology, working towards her PhD in my lab. Fiona's research interests are in Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and particularly in liver fibrosis, hepatocarcinogenesis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Ms Sarah Kamli-Salino did her final year Honours project in our laboratory and obtained her BSc Hons in Physiology at the University of Aberdeen in 2018. She then did her 1-year MRes project (2018-2019) in our laboratory, testing novel drugs for treatment of cardiovascular disease, funded by the Development Trust. She is now funded by Medical Research Scotland/ Astra Zeneca (2019-2023) for her PhD studies on synthetic cannabinoids in diabetic nephropathy. 

Miss Besa Emini is a joint, dual degree PhD student at the University of Antwerp and University of Aberdeen, as a part of the MoglyNet EU  Consortium. She is working on novel drugs for treatment of atherosclerosis. 

Ms Abrar Othman is a PhD student (2019-2022) funded by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau working on the role of PTP1B in macrophage signalling and inflammation. She obtained her Bachelor of Applied Medical Sciences at King Abdul-Aziz University (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) and her Masters (Honours) of Clinical Biochemistry from the University of Manchester in 2016. 

Ms Marina Souza Matos is a Brazilian PhD student in the lab (2019-2022) funded by two separate PhD studentships (Elphinstone Scholarship and the IMS studentship), co-supervised by Prof Bettina Platt, and working on the role of essential amino acid signalling in cognitive function. She obtained her undergraduate in Pharmacy from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in 2016. She did her undergraduate internship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, Harvard medical school, in the laboratory of Prof Hollenberg in 2015. In 2019, she obtained her Masters in Physiology from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. 

Lab technician

Ms Michela Donarumma joined our laboratory as the core lab technician in December 2020; prior to her joining the University of Aberdeen in 2010, Michela worked as a reseach assistant at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, USA. 

 Recent Previous Lab Members

Dr. Dawn ThompsonDr. Dawn Thompson (2014 - 2020) was a research fellow funded by British Heart Foundation working on the role of PTP1B in inflammation and heart disease and more recently on the role of retinoids in atherosclerosis.

As of January 2020, Dawn's new appointment is within our Centre as a lecturer! We wish her continued success! 




  Miss Fabiana Baganha was a joint, dual degree PhD student at the University of Antwerp and University of Aberdeen, as a part of the MoglyNet EU  Consortium. Fabiana was awarded her dual PhD in May 2020 and is now a postdoctoral fellow at Karolinska Institute. 

 Oliver Helk (2016-2019) was a Clinical Research Fellow in my laboratory  working on insulin sensitizing approaches in treatment of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, working towards his MD/PhD in collaboration with our colleagues from the NHS Grampian diabetes centre. Oliver successfully defended his PhD in Dec 2020. Oliver is now a clinical associate professor at the University of Vienna, Austria. 

Dr Gerda Gasiunaite (2018-2020) was a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory working on the Diabetes UK funded project examining the effects of PTP1B inhibition on diabetic wound healing. Gerda obtained her PhD from the University of Bristol; prior to that, she did her undergrad at the University of Aberdeen.

Rebecca Walker: Rebecca was working as a Research Fellow on the Cohen Global Pharmaceuticals project (2018-2020) and is now a Lecturer in Chemistry, University of Abedeen.

Samantha Le SommerDr. Samantha Le Sommer (2013-2017) was awarded a competitive Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) PhD studentship in my lab to work on the immunology project investigating the effects of myeloid-PTP1B deficiency on cell proliferation and migration. Samantha obtained her undergraduate degree in Immunology from the University of Edinburgh.

 Samantha ia now a postdoctoral fellow in the Prof Maria Kontaridis laboratory at MMRI, New York, USA. 


Knowledge Exchange and Public Engagement

Public Engagement in Research Awards

 To listen to our podcast on the panel dicussion organised for International Women's Day 2021 "Different Day Same Problem: Covid-19, Leadership and Inequality" follow this link: 

For the BHF Alumni organised panel discussion in which I took part on "The Future of the Lab after Covid-19" register here: 

• Winner of the 2018 Wellcome Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Public Engagement in the Biomedical Sciences

• Joint winner: Public prize, Principal’s Prize for Public Engagement with Research 2018

• “Super Zena” (“Super Woman”) 2018 award at the First International Women’s conference, Bosnia and Hercegovina

•  Vitae (global leader in supporting the professional development of researchers) “Talking heads: PIs on mentoring research staff” project; invited speaker to help new PIs achieve most from their research staff; series of short online videos

• National Coordinating Centre for Public Outreach – recognized as 1 out of 20 top UK scientists in 2010 for their outreach activities.



My current supervision areas are: Biomedical Sciences and Nutrition and Health.

Research Funding and Grants

Research Grants (active)

  • Chief Scientist Office (2020): Rapid Research in Covid-19 programme (RARC-19 programme) (2020): Development of sensitive, rapid and high-throughput antibody assays for COVID-19; Principal Investigator (co-PI: Vertebrate Antibodies Ltd, NHS Grampian)
  • British Heart Foundation Non-clinical PhD studentship (2021-2024): "Targeting myeloid PTP1B to prevent obesity related retinal microvascular disease" PI (co-PIs: Prof John Forrester, Dr Lucia Kuffova)
  • British Heart Foundation Project Grant  (2020-2023); The FPR2 ligand W-peptide: A new therapeutic approach to treat atherosclerosis. Co-PI (PI: Dr Dawn Thompson)
  • Medical Research Scotland PhD studentship (2019-2023): Principal Investigator (with Dr Heather Wilson as co-PI and Dr Denis Feliers, AstraZeneca industrial partnership).
  • Cohen Global Pharmaceuticals: Commercial  Project (2018-2021): Principal Investigator; Commercial project
  • Diabetes UK Project Grant (2018-2021) “Inhibition of macrophage PTP1B as a novel therapy for improved wound healing in diabetes" Principal Investigator (co-PI: Carvalho E., Wilson, H. M., Rajnicek, A. M.)
  • Tenovus Scotland (2018-2021): Characterising the role of FGF21 in hepatocarcinogenesis in humans; Co-PI (PI: Fiona Clegg; co-PIs: Graeme Murray, Mairi McLean)
  • Alzheimer’s Research UK Major Project Grant (2017-2021) “Neruronal hBACE1: the link between Alzheimer's disease and diabetes" Co-applicant (PI: Platt, B., co-PI: Riedel, G.)
  • British Heart Foundation Project Grant (2017-2020): "Synthetic derivatives of Fenretinide: a novel approach to prevent lipotoxicity, insulin resistance and vascular endothelial dysfunction" Co-applicant (PI: Dr Nimesh Mody; co-PI: Prof Matteo Zanda). 

Research Grants (completed)

       British Heart Foundation PhD studentship (2016-2019): “The regulation of phosphoprotein     enriched in astrocytes-15 in vascular smooth muscle cells”. Co-applicant (PI: Prof Graeme Nixon)



Teaching Responsibilities



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