Dr Kerstin Timm

Dr Kerstin Timm, who has brown hair and glasses
Isobel Laing Career Development Fellow in Medical Sciences

Before I came to the UK I trained as a vet at the Freie Universitaet Berlin (Germany). I then undertook an MRes in "In Vivo Imaging in Biology and Medicine" and a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge.

During my PhD in Prof Kevin Brindle's laboratory I used hyperpolarized MRI to assess tumour metabolism and redox state in mouse models of cancer. I was then awarded a British Heart Foundation (BHF) Immediate Postdoctoral Basic Science Research Fellowship to move to the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG) at the University of Oxford, where I started my research in cardio-oncology. I was then awarded a BHF Centre of Research Excellence Transition Fellowship and a Career Development Fellowship at the Department of Pharmacology to start my independent group.

In addition to my research I have been doing tutorial teaching for the past eight years, at both Cambridge and Oxford. At Oxford I taught metabolism at Corpus Christi College to medics and biochemists from 2016-2020. I have also been teaching parts of the “Organisation of the Body” course for medics at Somerville College since 2017.

Associated courses
Research interests

My research is in cardio-oncology, specifically in the early detection and cardioprotective treatment of chemotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity. Some chemotherapeutic agents, such as doxorubicin, have severe cardiotoxic side effects, which can lead to congestive heart failure in 5% of patients. There are currently no imaging techniques available to detect patients before the onset of functional decline and there are no specific cardio-protective drugs.

During my time in Prof Damian Tyler's lab at DPAG I established a clinically-relevant rat model of doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity and found that the novel metabolic imaging technique, hyperpolarized MRI, can detect early changes in cardiac mitochondrial metabolism that precede functional decline. I am currently exploring the repurposing of existing drugs that target cardiac metabolism as potential cardio-protective therapy. 

Selected publications

The Role of AMPK Activation for Cardioprotection in Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiotoxicity. Timm KN*, Tyler DJ. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther., 2020, 34(2):255-269 *corresponding author

Nicotinic acid receptor agonists impair myocardial contractility by energy starvation. Watson WD,  Timm KN,  Lewis AJ, Miller JJJ, Emmanuel Y, Clarke K, Neubauer S, Tyler DJ, Rider OJ. FASEB J., 2020, doi: 10.1096/fj.202000084RR

Rescue of myocardial energetic dysfunction in diabetes through the correction of mitochondrial hyperacetylation by honokiol. Kerr M., Miller JJ., Thapa D., Stiewe S., Timm KN., Aparicio CNM., Scott I., Tyler DJ., Heather LC. JCI Insight 2020 doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.140326

Assessing the optimal preparation strategy to minimize the variability of cardiac pyruvate dehydrogenase flux measurements with hyperpolarized MRS. Timm KN*, Apps A, Miller JJ, Ball V, Chong CR, Dodd MS and Tyler DJ. NMR Biomed., 2018, 31(9):e3992 *corresponding author

Cardiac Applications of Hyperpolarised Magnetic Resonance. Timm KN*, Miller JJ, Henry JA, Tyler DJ. Prog. Nucl. Magn. Reson. Spectrosc., 2018, 106:66-87 *corresponding author

Assessing oxidative stress in tumors by measuring the rate of hyperpolarized [1-13C]dehydroascorbic acid reduction using 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Timm KN, HU DE, Williams M, Wright AJ, Kettunen MI, Kennedy BWC, Larkin TJ, Dzien P, Marco-Rius I, Bohndiek SE and Brindle KM. J. Biol. Chem., 2017, 292:1737–48

Imaging tumor metabolism to assess disease progression and treatment response. Timm KN, Kennedy BWC, Brindle KM. Clin. Cancer Res., 2016, 22(21):5196-5203