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David Ray


Professor of Endocrinology and Co-Director Sir Jules Thorn Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute

  • Professor of Endocrinology, University of Oxford
  • Co-Director of the Sir Jules Thorn Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, University of Oxford
  • Executive member Oxford Metabolic Health
  • Investigator Kavli Institute for Nanoscience Discovery, University of Oxford

Circadian and sleep regulation of inflammation, and metabolism, and the role of nuclear receptors in health and disease.

David trained in general internal medicine in North West England, and obtained a PhD from the University of Manchester.  He was a research fellow at UCLA for two years, working on neuroendocrine-immune interaction, before returning to the UK, and obtaining a GSK fellowship to work on glucocorticoid action, and sensitivity in inflammatory disease.  He was promoted to Professor of Medicine at the University of Manchester in 2005, and went on to study nuclear receptor and circadian biology in inflammation, and energy metabolism.  This work attracted Wellcome Investigator and MRC programme grant support.

David is a passionate advocate of research training, serving on the MRC clinical fellowship panel for seven years, three as deputy chair.

Circadian mechanisms regulate most mammalian physiology, with particular importance in the regulation of innate immunity, through the macrophage in particular, and energy metabolism, regulating liver, adipose and muscle.  These circuits are also regulated by a number of nuclear receptors, which show a striking interdependency on the circadian machinery; some having ligand availability regulated by the clock, others varying in expression level through the day.  We have employed a range of approaches to address the physiological importance of the circadian:nuclear receptor system, ranging from population genetics, experimental medicine studies, CRISPR engineered mice, and cell biology.  These approaches have discovered how the important dimension of time regulates metabolism, and coordinates diverse tissues to deliver optimal organismal performance.  Importantly, we are identifying how external stressors can decouple these systems, with deleterious effects.

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