Discovering new targets for obesity and type 2 diabetes treatment
Obesity is emerging as one of the key challenges of this century to human health. In many industrialised nations, more than half of the population is overweight or obese and this unfortunately increases the risk for developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Professor Lora Heisler and her team employ cutting-edge neuroscience technology to identify specific brain chemicals and circuits that act as command centres integrating food intake and energy requirement signals coming from all over the body to modulate appetite, body weight and blood sugar.
Through funding from the Wellcome Trust, UK Research councils, Diabetes UK and other charities, Professor Heisler and her laboratory have identified new drug targets for the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes, some of which have shown benefit in patient groups.
These important discoveries have been acknowledged by Outstanding Scientific Achievement Awards from professional societies such as the American Diabetes Association and the Obesity Society. Professor Heisler’s current research employs an exciting technical advance called optogenetics where light is used to turn cells on or off with exquisite precision, a technique that could be the medicine of the future.