Oxford hosts endocrinology research that spans from genes and molecules up to organs and systems.
A number of groups are interested in understanding the physiological responses of eating, such as postprandial insulin release and suppression of appetite. This includes researchers studying specialised cells in the small intestines that are important for nutrient sensing and that release peptide hormones, and also those investigating how our genes influence the physiological control of eating in the context of obesity.
Groups are also studying how the glucocorticoid signalling network influences circadian timing machinery in organs such as the liver and how steroid hormones regulate metabolic health in liver, fat and skeletal muscle. Other researchers are studying adipose tissue as an active endocrine organ to understand how it responds to and also releases factors with endocrine functions. The pancreas as an endocrine organ is studied for both clinical (islet cell transplantation) and research purposes. Within the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM), the Academic Endocrine Unit studies the molecular basis of important endocrine and metabolic disorders, primarily those affecting calcium and phosphate homeostasis. The discovery of defective genes and pathways has led to improved care of patients with disorders such as endocrine tumours.