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Department of Human Metabolism

The Department of Human Metabolism, brings together 31 academics across five locations. We include the Mellanby Centre for Bone Research, the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Metabolic Bone Disease and the Sheffield Institute for Foetal and Neonatal Imaging.

Our research

We combine strong basic and clinical science groups to create a major focus on translational research. Research is taking place on a variety of medical conditions of key importance in the UK. • One in six couples suffer infertility at some point in their lives and now one percent of all UK births are born through the use of assisted reproduction.

• 2.6 million people in the UK are diagnosed with diabetes and providing treatment and dealing with associated complications costs the NHS approximately £1 million per hour.

• One in two women and one in five men above the age of 50 will fracture a bone as a result of osteoporosis.

• Autoimmune thyroid disease affects approximately one percent of the population and is the most common form of organ-specific autoimmunity.

• Care of premature babies costs the NHS almost £1 billion per year more than if they were born full-term.

As a result of our research we hope to improve treatment, reduce NHS costs and improve quality of life for UK citizens across a variety of medical conditions.

State-of-the-art molecular biology laboratories, tissue culture facilities, dedicated clinical research facilities and access to the latest imaging technology including MR, NMR and PET scanning support our research activity.

Our research units

Bone biology The principal interests are in understanding the normal regulation of skeletal development and homeostasis, how these processes are disturbed in disease and how identifying specific molecules can provide new therapeutic targets.

Bone metabolism Pathophysiology, diagnosis, screening strategies and treatment of osteoporosis. The unit’s work also involves a better understanding of the causes of bone loss around hip prostheses.

Child health Determining fracture risk through novel imaging of bone architecture in children with both healthy and fragile bones and experimental medicine in the bone and endocrine fields.

Clinical pharmacology The major interests are in the biochemical pharmacology of drugs and the variability in human drug metabolism with an emphasis on the role of pharmacogenomics in the clinical response to drugs.

Diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism Investigates the regulation, structure and physiology of hormones and applies this knowledge to the treatment of diabetes and the development of novel treatments for both inherited and acquired endocrine disorders.

Radiology Performs the majority of its research using magnetic resonance techniques, with particular emphasis on neuro imaging, fetal imaging and the use of hyperpolarised agents.

Reproductive and developmental medicine Investigating the biology of gametes and embryos, male and female fertility, pregnancy and the molecular basis of human parturition and pre-term birth.

The Mellanby Centre for Bone Research

The Department of Human Metabolism brings together


academics across five locations


The Mellanby Centre for Bone Research was opened in June 2009 as an inter disciplinary centre for bone research and draws together principal investigators from Medicine, Biological Sciences and the Centre for Engineering and Materials Science. The centre boasts the Bone Analysis Laboratory which provides researchers with access to contemporary approaches to the analysis of bone and the Bone Biochemistry Laboratory which offers a wide range of measurements of bone turnover markers and

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