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Development of novel herbal extracts for treatment of metabolic disarray and neuropathy in rodent models of obesity and diabetes.

School of Health and Life Sciences

About the Project

Reference No: SHLS20041

Diabetes and obesity levels continue to rise globally, with significant detrimental effects on personal health and wellbeing, social welfare and healthcare budgets. Preventing the pandemic of obesity and diabetes and the associated co-morbidities is thus of a vital importance. Many remedies currently used for treatment of Type 2 diabetes and obesity are derived from natural products, such as the metformin (herbal) and GLP-1 agonists (lizard venom). A number of herbal compounds used in traditional medicine have not been evaluated for their mechanisms of action and potential beneficial effects against obesity/diabetes. We have recently characterised the effects of 2 herbal extracts (Costus Pictus and Gypenoside; papers submitted) on the function of insulin secreting and GLP-1 producing cell lines. This project aims to further develop on these compounds, to characterise their bioactivity, and to test the impact of these extracts on metabolic hormones, glycaemic and lipid regulation, and protection against obesity and diabetes associated co-morbidities including chronic pain and neuropathy. This project will use an established rodent model of obesity/Type 2 diabetes developed by Dr Sharron Dolan, and build on the expertise of Dr Patterson’s group on cellular biology of pancreatic islets and gut hormones producing cells.

Dr Patterson and Dolan have collaborated in the area of obesity and diabetes research for more than 5 years and have successfully co-supervised 2 PhD students to completion (and currently co-supervising 1 other). Their collaborative work has resulted co-authorship of 2 publications (currently submitted) to date and numerous conference proceedings. Their complementary expertise and knowledge (Patterson – endocrine cell biology; Dolan - in vivo Pharmacology, animal models) adds strength to the collaboration.
Candidates are encouraged to contact the following researchers for further details:
• Dr Steven Patterson (
• Dr Sharron Dolan (

Funding Notes

The successful candidate will be expected to have a Bachelor of Science honours degree in a relevant subject at 2:1 or above
In addition to annual research tuition fees, research support ('Bench') fees will also be required for this project

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