- Professor of Molecular Endocrinology (Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences)
I graduated from Glasgow University with a BSc (Hons) Biochemistry and then from Edinburgh University with a PhD. After a 3-year INSERM Fellowship in Paris, I returned to Glasgow in 1994.
My main research interest is the role of the steroid hormones aldosterone and cortisol in cardiovascular disease. These hormones are made in the adrenal gland by the enzymes aldosterone synthase and 11b-hydroxylase and are encoded by the CYP11B2 and CYP11B1 genes respectively.
Working with Professor John Connell, our studies have been funded by successive Programme Grants from the MRC in addition to Project Grants from the British Heart Foundation and the Wellcome Trust. We have adopted a translational research approach integrating basic molecular biology, in vitro cell biology and human investigations, ranging from small focussed studies in normal and hypertensive subjects to large-scale population studies. The availability of many of these large, unique populations has been achieved through several successful collaborations with a number of complementary centres.
Using these tools, we have made a number of key observations. These include the identification of the heritable nature of corticosteroid synthesis, the identification of several novel polymorphic variants in CYP11B2, association of this variation with increased aldosterone production and hypertension. There is also evidence of inefficient 11b-hydroxylation which appears to be due to tight linkage dysequilibrium of the variants in CYP11B2 with novel causal variants in the regulatory region of the CYP11B1 gene which alter gene transcription. These studies represent a significant advance in our understanding of adrenal steroid synthesis regulation and the contribution of steroids to cardiovascular dysfunction.
Professor Bill Rainey, Georgia, USA
Dr Rebecca Reynolds, Edinburgh, UK
Dr Chris Kenyon, Edinburgh, UK
Prof Bernard Keavney, Newcastle, UK
Prof Celso Gomez-Sanchez, Mississippi, USA