Short CV/Education and training

Academic Career:

  • 1974
    B.A, Cambridge University (top 1st class Honours, Zoology)

  • 1978
    M.A, Cambridge University

  • 1979
    Ph.D, Cambridge University

  • 1996
    Sc.D, Cambridge University

Fellowships:

  • 1972
    Undergraduate exhibition, Girton College, Cambridge

  • 1973
    Undergraduate scholarship, Girton College, Cambridge

  • 1974 – 1977
    Science Research Council predoctoral scholarship, Graduate scholarship, Girton College, Cambridge

  • 1978
    Grass Foundation Fellowship, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, USA

  • 1978 – 1983
    Medical Research Council postdoctoral training fellowship

  • 1981 – 1982
    Muscular Dystrophy Association (USA), postdoctoral fellowship

  • 1983 – 1985
    E.P.A. Cephalosporin Junior Research Fellow, Linacre College

  • 1985 – 1990
    Royal Society 1983 University Research Fellow

  • 1986 – 1987
    Lecturer in Physiology, Christ Church College, Oxford

  • 1988 – 1989
    Lecturer in Physiology, Trinity College, Oxford

  • 1990 – 1991
    Tutorial Fellow in Medicine, St Hilda's College, Oxford

  • 1992 – 1996
    Senior Research Fellow, Trinity College, Oxford

  • 1996 – 2001
    Professor of Physiology, University of Oxford (titular)

  • 1997 – 1998
    Special lectureship, University of Oxford

  • 1997 – 1999
    Medical Tutor, Trinity College, Oxford

  • 1999 – 2001
    Research Fellow in Physiology, Trinity College, Oxford

  • 2001 – 2011
    Royal Society GlaxoSmithKline Research Professor

  • Since 2001
    Professorial Fellow, Trinity College, Oxford

  • 2006 – 2013
    Honorary Visiting Professor, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry

  • Since 2008
    International Visiting Professor, Kobe University, Japan

Previous academic posts:

  • 1971
    - 1974 Undergraduate, Girton College, Cambridge

  • 1974 – 1978
    SERC research student, Zoology, Cambridge

  • 1978 – 1982
    MRC postdoctoral training fellow, Physiology, Leicester

  • 1981 – 1982
    MDA postdoctoral fellow, Physiology, UCLA, USA

  • 1982 – 1985
    Departmental Demonstrator, Physiology, Oxford

  • 1985 – 1990
    Royal Society University Research Fellow, Physiology, Oxford

  • 1990 – 1996
    Lecturer in Physiology, Physiology, Oxford

  • 1996 – 2001
    Professor of Physiology, Physiology, Oxford

Present positions:

  •  
    Royal Society GlaxoSmithKline Research Professor, Oxford

  •  
    Professorial Fellow, Trinity College, Oxford

  •  
    Director, OXION (Wellcome Trust Integrative Physiology Initiative in Ion Channels and Diseases of Electrically Excitable Cells)

  •  
    Honorary Visiting Professor, Peninsula Medical School, Exeter

  •  
    International Visiting Professor, Kobe University, Japan

  •  
    Honorary Fellow, Girton College Cambridge

Selected publications

Selected projects

  • My research focuses on glucose homeostasis. Specifically, I am interested in how a rise in the blood sugar concentration stimulates release of the hormone insulin from the beta-cells of the pancreas, what goes wrong with this process in type 2 diabetes and neonatal diabetes, and how drugs used to treat these conditions exert their beneficial effects.

  • Much of my work concerns the ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channel, which we have shown plays a key role in insulin secretion in both health and disease. I am interested in how the function of the KATP channel relates to its structure, how cell metabolism regulates channel activity, and how mutations/polymorphisms in KATP channel genes cause human disease. We study the channel at many levels ranging from its atomic structure, biophysical properties to its many roles in different tissues, the whole organism and human disease.

  • As a direct result of my work on the KATP channel, several hundred patients with neonatal diabetes have been able to switch from insulin injections to oral sulphonylurea drugs, with substantial improvement in their clinical condition and quality of life. The neurological symptoms that some patients experience may also be ameliorated. Together with Andrew Hattersley, I also raised the money for, and organised, the first ever meeting for patients with neonatal diabetes and their families (2009).

  • Finally, we also study the function of the FTO gene that predisposes to common obesity.

Additional qualifications

  • I have trained 18 PhD students and 42 post-doctoral fellows. Many are now established academics, in various countries, including Denis Burdakov, Fiona Gribble, Masafumi Kakei, Birgit Liss, Frank Reimann, Jochen Roeper, Paolo Tammaro, Makoto Takano, Stephan Trapp and Stephen Tucker. Others have entered clinical medicine. Some of my past students have won major international pzies, e.g. Gribble, the Minkowski Prize (European Association for the Study of Diabetes); Liss, the Alfried Krupp-Förderpreis for Young Professors, (a one-million-Euro prize from the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation).

  • My textbook, Ion Channels and Disease, was critically acclaimed and even after 10 years remains a standard text for many undergraduate and graduate courses that deal with ion channels. It was instrumental in helping define the new field of 'channelopathies'.


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News

  1. Ion channels: "You name it - they do it!"

    Frances Ashcroft's research at the University of Oxford on how a rise in blood sugar levels causes insulin to be released from the pancreas has led to simpler treatment for people with neonatal diabetes.