Dr BRENDAN GABRIEL

Dr BRENDAN GABRIEL
Dr BRENDAN GABRIEL

Dr BRENDAN GABRIEL

PhD

Research Fellow

About

Office 5.045, The Rowett Institute, 

The University of Aberdeen,

Ashgrove Rd W, Aberdeen,

AB25 2ZD

 

Tel:  00447741900963

Biography

2020: Research Fellow in Cardiovascular and Diabetes Science, The Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen.

2019-2020: Research Fellow, Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh.

2015-2019: Research Fellow, Institute for Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institute.

2015-2016: Visiting Fellow, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen.  

2010-2015: PhD, Institute of Medical Science, University of Aberdeen.

External Memberships

  • Affiliated Researcher, FYFA | 171 77 Stockholm | Von Eulers Väg 4a, Karolinska Institutet

         brendan.gabriel@ki.se | ki.se/en/people/bregab

Prizes and Awards

  • Innovator in Diabetes (IDia), Diabetes UK (2020)
  • European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD)/Lilly - Young Investigator Research Award (2020)
Research

Research Overview

My research focusses on skeletal muscle and its role in disease pathology, in addition to assessing physical activity as a treatment or preventative intervention in metabolic disease.

Research Specialisms

  • Exercise for Health
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic Biochemistry

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 licence.

Current Research

Identifying novel skeletal muscle targets for obesity treatment and prevention.

Skeletal muscle is important in the pathology of obesity and other metabolic diseases as it is the major postprandial glucose depot and oxidises a large proportion of postprandial lipids. Approximately 40% of the human body is comprised of skeletal muscle, which contributes the largest quantitative component of energy expenditure in the body. Notably, the muscle of obese individuals may be energetically impaired in comparison to non-obese individuals. One of my core projects, uses data generated from a polygenic mouse model, alongside human validation to identify new targets which are causal for obesity. Several factors contribute to obesity development including a genetic predisposition. However, there are thought to be many, as yet, unidentified or uncharacterised inherited traits involved in obesity development. Ultimately, discovery and characterisation of these inherited traits could lead to more targeted treatments for obesity. Data generated from this project could steer future research regarding more personalised treatment/preventative interventions. This research is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Using chrono-medicine to optimise concomitant metformin and exercise prescription.

Additionally, skeletal muscle is a highly plastic tissue which responds beneficially to exercise training. Indeed, exercise may be one of the most potent clinical interventions in this tissue. People with Type II Diabetes (T2D) are often prescribed metformin and encouraged to engage in regular physical activity. However, many people with T2D do not meet the recommended physical activity guidelines and report more relapse from physical activity than the general population. Recent studies suggest that although metformin is an effective treatment strategy of T2D, patients undergoing this treatment may have an ablated beneficial response to exercise. Our recent work has shown disturbances in the intrinsic rhythmicity of circadian metabolism in skeletal muscle of people with T2D. These results underscore the need to consider approaches in chrono-medicine when prescribing pharmacological therapy for T2D. With this in mind, this parallel project aims to test the hypothesis that metformin interferes with exercise induced signal transduction in skeletal muscle. Additionally, we aim to test whether timed treatment can improve the beneficial effects of these combined therapies. This project is funded by the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD).

Contraction increases calcium influx, resulting in binding of the phosphorylated form of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) to the Per2 promoter and a ‘re-setting’ of Per2 mRNA rhythmic expression (Small et al. 2020). Metformin, type 2 diabetes, exercise and ageing can all act to modulate calcium metabolism and mitochondrial function (Short et al. 2005; Weisleder & Ma, 2008; Eshima et al. 2014; Loubiere et al. 2017). Glucose metabolism is altered in response to exercise at different times of day (Savikj et al. 2019), and this may also play a role in molecular circadian rhythm regulation, given the role of cellular glucose metabolism in regulating non-transcriptional rhythmic processes (Ch et al. 2021). Dashed lines indicate speculated effects, continuous lines represent interactions with more evidence.

A schematic diagram of the speculated interactions between type 2 diabetes and skeletal muscle Zeitgebers

 Contraction increases calcium influx, resulting in binding of the phosphorylated form of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) to the Per2 promoter and a ‘re-setting’ of Per2 mRNA rhythmic expression (Small et al. 2020). Metformin, type 2 diabetes, exercise and ageing can all act to modulate calcium metabolism and mitochondrial function (Short et al. 2005; Weisleder & Ma, 2008; Eshima et al. 2014; Loubiere et al. 2017). Glucose metabolism is altered in response to exercise at different times of day (Savikj et al. 2019), and this may also play a role in molecular circadian rhythm regulation, given the role of cellular glucose metabolism in regulating non-transcriptional rhythmic processes (Ch et al. 2021). Dashed lines indicate speculated effects, continuous lines represent interactions with more evidence. Image and legend from Gabriel & Zierath (2021, The Journal of Physiology)

Knowledge Exchange

Rowett Seminar Programme organiser in collaboration with Dr Silvia Gratz. 

Supervision

Current 

An image of Brenda Pena Carrillo

Brenda Pena Carrillo -  PhD student (2021-2025)

Brenda is a Mexican CONACyT scholarship funded PhD student in my lab with co-supervision by Dr Nimesh Mody, and Prof Mirela Delibegovic. Brenda is working on the interaction between metformin, exercise and skeletal muscle metabolism. 

  • I also supervise annual MSc & BSc projects

Previous 

a portrait photo of Nadine Sommer in the lab

Nadine Sommer - Research Assistant (May-July, 2021)

Nadine worked on a short-term project in summer 2021 before moving to Dr Justin Rochford's lab to begin a PhD. 

 

Louis Kimanzi - Summer vacation student (May-July, 2021)

Louis worked on a project as a summer vacation student funded by The Physiological Society. He subsequently went on to complete his undergraduate degree at the University of Edinburgh.

 

portrait photo of Emily Cope

Emily Cope - MSc student and volunteer (May-December, 2021) 

Emily completed her MSc thesis project in my lab after which she continued to volunteer on a part-time basis. She went on to start a fully-funded MRes with Dr Dawn Thompson at the University of Aberdeen.

Funding and Grants

Mexican CONNACyT PhD scholarship, lead supervisor (2021-2025)

Novo Nordisk Foundation - Postdoc Fellowship for research abroad - Endocrinology & Metabolism - NNF19OC0055072 (2020-2024), ~£460,000

European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD)/Lilly - Young Investigator Research Award Programme (2020-2022), €50,000

NHS Grampian Endowment Fund - Research Grant (2021), £12,000

Scottish Funding Council (SFC) Covid-19 grant extension fund (Internal) (2021), £12,000

Teaching

Teaching Responsibilities

MSc Human Nutrition - Molecular Nutrition (RN5502)*

MSc Diabetes and Metabolism (BM5502)

BSc Sport & Exercise Science - Nutrition, Obesity and Metabolic Health (SR4008)

MBChB Medicine - Year 1 SSC (ME2511)

Advanced Research Project (PU5045)

Biomedical Sciences Honours project (BM4501)

*Course Co-ordinator 

Publications

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Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals