Dr BRENDAN GABRIEL
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.
- Affiliated Researcher, FYFA | 171 77 Stockholm | Von Eulers Väg 4a, Karolinska Institutet
firstname.lastname@example.org | 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)
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.
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).
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)
Rowett Seminar Programme organiser in collaboration with Dr Silvia Gratz.
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
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.
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
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)
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Disrupted circadian oscillations in type 2 diabetes are linked to altered rhythmic mitochondrial metabolism in skeletal muscleScience Advances, vol. 7, no. 43, eabi9654Contributions to Journals: Articles
Challenges and solutions for diabetes early career researchers in the COVID-19 recovery – perspectives of the Diabetes UK Innovators in DiabetesDiabetic MedicineContributions to Journals: Review articles
Building a Systematic Online Living Evidence Summary of COVID-19 ResearchJournal of EAHIL, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 21-26Contributions to Journals: Articles
Three weeks of interrupting sitting lowers fasting glucose and glycemic variability, but not glucose tolerance, in free-living women and men with obesityAmerican Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and MetabolismContributions to Journals: Articles
Zeitgebers of skeletal muscle and implications for metabolic healthThe Journal of PhysiologyContributions to Journals: Review articles
The phospholipase A2 family's role in metabolic diseases: Focus on skeletal musclePhysiological reports, vol. 9, no. 1, e14662Contributions to Journals: Review articles
Biochemical and Metabolic Limitations to Athletic PerformanceThe Routledge Handbook on Biochemistry of Exercise. Tiidus, P., MacPherson, R., LeBlanc, P., Josse, A. (eds.). 1st edition. Routledge, pp. 205, 12 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
Comparative profiling of skeletal muscle models reveals heterogeneity of transcriptome and metabolismAmerican Journal of Physiology: Cell Physiology, vol. 318, no. 3, pp. C615-C626Contributions to Journals: Articles
Transcriptomic profiling of skeletal muscle adaptations to exercise and inactivityNature Communications, vol. 11, 470Contributions to Journals: Articles
Circadian rhythms and exercise - re-setting the clock in metabolic diseaseNature reviews. Endocrinology, vol. 15, pp. 197-206Contributions to Journals: Articles