Dr Richard Mackenzie
Hello, I’m Dr Richard Mackenzie from the Sport and Exercise Science Research Centre at Roehampton University in London. I’m an associate professor in London working in areas of obesity type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.
Dr Fulvia Draicchio
Hello, I am Fulvia Draicchio, a PhD research student working on type 2 diabetes (T2D) and insulin sensitivity in the lab of Dr Richard Mackenzie.
Previously I graduated in Bioscience and Biotechnology (BSc) from Modena and Reggio Emilia University, Italy, and in Industrial Biotechnology (MSc) from Northumbria University. After my master, I got a PhD in Plant Genetics from the School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee.
Specifically, my current project at the Roehampton University focuses on the insulin-signalling pathway Akt/PKB, known to be defective in T2D people, and on the novel pathway of inositol pyrophosphates, especially IP6K1 kinase, which has been reported to inhibit insulin-mediated glucose transport. Previous studies were limited on IP6K1 KO mice, which showed that depletion or chemical inhibition of IP6K1 might improve peripheral insulin action and hepatic function.
Based on these exciting results, the principal aim of my research is to investigate and manipulate Akt activity both in vitro & in vivo (via the enzyme IP6K1), for the first time in humans, to understand how Akt is potentially modulated by inositol pyrophosphate pathway both in vivo & in vitro. The results may suggest an effective pharmaceutical target in the treatment of insulin resistance & T2Ds that focuses on defective insulin signalling rather than alternative pathways that remain intact in the T2D population (i.e. AMPK).
The second part of my research is investigating the effects of exercise on insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake. It is suggested that muscle contraction decreases IP6K1 activity n while increasing Akt activity in vivo. Therefore we first induce pre-diabetic effects through acute hyperglycaemia, hyperinsulinemia & hyperlipidaemia (2 hr. administration) treatments, then we see if the pre-diabetic effects previously induced can be reversed by 1 hour of mild intensity exercise. If exercise can decrease the activity of IP6K1 & improve insulin resistance, then also this pathway could be of future interest for pharmaceutical interventions.
I’m Richie and I graduated from Staffordshire University in 2014 with a BSc Sport and Exercise Science which sparked my interest in nutrition and physiology to which I completed an MSc in Sport and Exercise Nutrition. I became SENr registered as a result and I met our group leader, Dr Richard Mackenzie. I then came to Roehampton with Dr Mackenzie to start my PhD at the University of Roehampton.
I’m in the final year of my PhD investigating skeletal muscle protein metabolism in older adults. As adults age, there is an inherent dysregulated response to anabolic stimuli [protein and resistance exercise] which drives the loss of muscle mass and strength. I use both cell culture and human stable isotope methods to model the differences seen at the muscle and molecular level of skeletal muscle metabolism in this population versus young and healthy adults.
Aside from my studies, I have my own nutrition consultancy and group lead businesses which help both elite athletes and the lay population. I aim to translate my scientific knowledge of nutrition and metabolism to my consultancy practice to make a difference to the people I work with.
I completed a BSc in Biological Sciences at University of Westminster, London, and then I continued my studies with an MSc in Clinical Nutrition at the University of Roehampton where I developed a high interest in nutrition and exercise physiology. After completing my MSc degree, I decided to pursue my interest and started a PhD in Type 2 diabetes and exercise physiology aiming to investigate the interaction between pancreatic beta cells and skeletal muscle, both in human studies and in vitro. By better understanding this crosstalk between organs, we can hopefully develop more targeted and efficient treatments for those at risk of progression from pre to overt type 2 diabetes.
I am also offering consultancy services for general or athlete populations aiming to help them achieve their goals, either in terms of increasing exercise performance or losing weight.
Diana Elena Motei
I am Diana Motei, a new PhD research student working on the cross link between the pancreatic beta cells and skeletal muscle in the context of type 2 diabetes. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi (Romania) in 2017, I started a master programme in Protein science and biotechnology at University of Oulu (Finland). In the last year of my master’s programme I worked in the BioCenter Oulu studying possible skin biomarker proteins for type I diabetes.
My PhD project involves investigating plasma biomarker molecules (metabolites and proteins) associated with the progression of pre-diabetes to overt type 2 diabetes. Previous studies have shown changes in the metabolite and protein profiles of pre-diabetic participants in association with the progression of type 2 diabetes but also with the transition to normal glucose regulation. However, until now the changes in the metabolite/protein profiles are not fully understood and a complete picture is still lacking. Therefore, our aim is the identification of new possible plasma biomarker molecules in pre-diabetic participants for early diagnosis and possibly prevention of type 2 diabetes.