Dr Lisa Heather
I studied for an undergraduate degree in Medical Biochemistry at the University of Surrey. In 2003 I moved to the University of Oxford for my DPhil in cardiac metabolism under the supervision of Professor Kieran Clarke.
This was followed by a postdoctorate studying mitochondrial regulation of metabolism in response to hypoxia. In 2011 I was awarded an RD Lawrence Early Career Fellowship by Diabetes UK, to set up my own research groups investigating the effects on the heart of type 2 diabetes.
I joined Oriel College in January 2016 as an Isobel Laing Career Development Fellow.
I have taught biochemistry and genetics to medicine, biomedical scientists and biochemistry students at various stages of their courses. I also supervise undergraduate and masters projects in my laboratory.
The study of metabolism has a strong historical basis in Oxford, and in the last 20 years research in this field has undergone a renaissance. Abnormalities in cardiac metabolism have been identified in many pathologies, and have been shown to directly impair the function of the heart, accelerate disease progression and to predict mortality. Given the pivotal role of metabolism in cardiac disease, a greater understanding of the why metabolism is abnormal, how this modifies the disease and whether this information can be used to develop new treatments may lead to new therapies for cardiovascular disease.
Type 2 diabetes increases the incidence of cardiovascular disease, and one of the potential mechanisms involved is abnormal cardiac ATP generation. The diabetic heart has reduced metabolic flexibility, which prevents the heart adapting metabolism to changes in oxygen delivery. My research focuses on understanding how diabetes modifies the metabolic and contractile response to hypoxia, the role this plays when the diabetic heart has a myocardial infarction, and whether modulating either metabolism or hypoxic signalling is beneficial for the diabetic heart.
A list of my publications can be found at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=heather+lc