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Adipose tissue functional responses to nutritional stress

Project Description

Obesity is the leading cause of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Adipose tissue dysfunction has been proposed as being central in the pathophysiology of obesity-related complications. However, the exact mechanisms remain unclear. A current hypothesis, called “nutritional stress”, is that when adipocytes are presented with large amounts of saturated fatty acids from the diet they respond with altered function (i.e. fatty acid and glucose metabolism). Eventually, this results in adipose tissue dysfunction and ectopic fatty acid deposition, which is linked to insulin resistance.

The aims of this project are 1) to establish methods of measuring various adipocyte cellular functions in vitro, and 2) to test the hypothesis of nutritional stress. For this, fresh human adipose tissue will be cultured in the lab, and methods for measuring adipocyte function, including advanced microscopy and single-molecule-tracking techniques, as well as –omics based techniques, will be established. Once methods are established, cultured adipocytes will be exposed to various nutritional stressors, and adipocyte function will be assessed and compared to control conditions. The data of this project will help deepen our understanding of adipose tissue dysfunction in obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Person Specification
Applicants should have a strong background in molecular biology or advanced microscopy techniques. They should have a commitment to conducting high quality research and hold or realistically expect to obtain at least an Upper Second Class Honours Degree in Medicine, Biomedical Sciences, Biology, or a related subject.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Konstantinos Manolopoulos, email

To be considered for this studentship, please send the following documents to Viktorija Ziabliceva, email :
• A detailed CV, including your nationality and country of birth;
• Names and addresses of two referees;
• A covering letter highlighting your research experience/capabilities;
• Copies of your degree certificates with transcripts;
• Evidence of your proficiency in the English language, if applicable.

Funding Notes

Self-funded applications only.


Shulman GI , Ectopic fat in insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and cardiometabolic disease. N Engl J Med. 2014 Sep 18;371(12):1131-41.

Ryden M, Arner P, Cardiovascular risk score is linked to subcutaneous adipocyte size and lipid metabolism. J Intern Med. 2017 Sep; 282(3):220-228

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