Cardiometabolic Disease

Cardiometabolic Disease at the IMS

Cardiometabolic Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity, disability and health inequalities in the UK accounting for 1 in 4 deaths. Cardiometabolic diseases refers to a cluster of conditions including heart attacks, stroke, circulatory diseases, diabetes, insulin resistance, hypertension and fatty liver disease. 

The number of individuals suffering from these illnesses is rising within the UK and worldwide. These preventable conditions are exacerbated by various risk factors such as obesity, smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet choices. 

Our theme encompasses a wide range of interest and expertise in various aspects of cardiometabolic health focussing on drug development, translational research and patient led studies.  Our approach is to drive research from ‘bench to bedside and back’ to aid new developments in diagnosis and treatment that will reduce the global burden of cardiometabolic disease.

Our researchers study various aspects of cardiometabolic health to enhance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and associated complications, heart and circulatory diseases.

Theme Lead: Professor Nicola Mutch


Professor Dana Dawson works on several cardiovascular research themes: acute takotsubo cardiomyopathy for which Aberdeen are known world-wide (focusing on the pathophysiology of takotsubo, genetics, rehabilitation strategies and national epidemiology through the Scottish Takotsubo registry); investigation of contribution of intramyocellular lipids abundance and turnover for cardiometabolic health in type 2 diabetes patients; exploring the myocardial metabolic and functional consequences of cancer-related therapies and secondary prevention pathways to protect the myocyte in cancer patients; developing fast field cycling magnetic resonance imaging as a new tool of investigating myocardial diseases.

Professor Mirela Delibegovic Prof Mirela Delibegovic’s laboratory works on translational projects focused on metabolic diseases with emphasis on type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NALFD/NASH models) and cognitive dysfunction (with focus on Alzheimer's disease). The lab is interested in how ageing, nutrition and obesity affect both, healthspan and lifespan.

Professor Stefan Hoppler studies biological functions and molecular mechanisms of the Wnt cell-to-cell signalling pathway in both normal health and disease. We investigate embryonic heart development (using Embryonic Stem cells as a model system and Xenopus as an accessible vertebrate whole embryo systems); and now explore pathological re-activation of the Wnt pathway after a heart attack (Myocardial Infarction). We also dissect molecular mechanisms of gene regulation downstream of Wnt signalling by the TCF/LEF transcription factors, mostly in early development and cancer. We apply high-throughput sequencing methods and bioinformatics to inform a comprehensive understanding of the gene regulatory networks controlled by Wnt signalling in development and disease.

Professor Mary Joan MacLeod Prof Mary Joan MacLeod is interested in aspects of cerebrovascular disease including thrombosis, epidemiology and exploring how field cycling MRI can add to conventional imaging modalities in patients with ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke or small vessel disease.

Dr Nimesh Mody is investigating molecular mechanisms involved in metabolic diseases, for example obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes, and identifying novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of these. 

Dr Fiona Murray Dr Fiona Murray investigates the role of cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cAMP) signalling in disease, in particular the progression of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and B- and T-cell lymphomas, to uncover novel therapeutic targets (G protein-coupled-receptors and phosphodiesterases) for drug development.

Professor Nicola Mutch Prof Nicola Mutch studies the mechanisms underpinning haemostasis and how these become perturbed in various pathophysiological states leading to bleeding or thrombotic complications. The aim is to identify novel interactions between haemostatic and inflammatory pathways to exploit for novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

Professor Graeme Nixon Prof Graeme Nixon aims to uncover new clinical drug targets in a range of cardiovascular diseases, particularly those relating to obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Dr Dawn Thompson studies the role of G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) proteins in disease, with a focus on inflammation and metabolic disorders. Of particular interest is understanding how changes at the molecular level translate to disease progression.