After graduating from Newcastle University in 1990, Professor Herbert secured a scholarship to study for a PhD at the University of Cambridge. Upon completion he moved to the Joslin Diabetes Centre in Boston, USA, a world class diabetes research institute and Harvard affiliate, to work with Professor Christopher Rhodes. Here he was awarded a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and helped to discover how insulin, the hormone which lowers blood glucose, is synthesised in response to glucose. Professor Herbert then moved back to the UK in 1997 to work with Professor Chris Proud at the University of Dundee where he made a significant contribution into unravelling how nutrients, such as glucose and amino acids, could influence cellular function.
In 2001, he joined the University of Leicester where he led a diabetes research team whose focus was on unravelling the molecular mechanisms underlying the causes of type-2 diabetes. During his time at Leicester he chaired the University Genetic Modification Committee, was the Departmental Postgraduate Tutor, a member of the Biological Sciences Higher Degrees Committee, and an external examiner for Brunel University.
In 2014, Professor Herbert took up an Associate Professorship at RMIT University in Melbourne. Here he, amongst other things, discovered how Angiotensin II promotes pancreatic beta cell dysfunction. In August 2017 to took up a Professorship in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Lincoln where he is keen to develop and enhance Lincoln’s research portfolio.
During Professor Herbert’s career he has consistently published in high-impact scientific journals and attracted nationally competitive governmental, charitable and industrial research funding. He is an Editorial advisor for the Biochemical Journal and is regularly invited to review scientific journal articles (e.g. Diabetes, Diabetologia, Biochemical Journal, Journal of Endocrinology…..) and grant funding applications (e.g. BBSRC, Wellcome, MRC, NHMRC, Diabetes UK…). He actively participates in both national and international conferences and has played a key role in the organisation of national conferences both in the UK and abroad. He is also a member of Member of the Biochemistry Society, the European Association for the study of Diabetes (EASD), the Islet Study Group and the Australian Diabetes Association (ADA).
Professor Herbert has extensive experience in both Undergraduate and Postgraduate teaching and has successfully supervised to completion many UK and International Postgraduate Students (Masters (taught or by research) (5) and PhD (13) students). If you are interested in joining Professor Herbert’s research team please contact him by e-mail.
SUMMARY OF RESEARCH PROGRAMME
Type-2 diabetes is a chronic human disease present in 6.2% of the population whose treatment and management costs the UK government £10 billion per annum. Alarmingly, due to an increase in obesity, which is a major risk factor in its development, the prevalence of type-2 diabetes is predicted to double in the next 10 years. While current pharmacological interventions are effective for the management of type 2 diabetes, they do not halt its progression due to a continued deterioration of beta cell function. Consequently, there is a real need to find new therapies that prevent beta cell dysfunction and/or restore beta cell function.
My laboratory has been primarily focused on determining the molecular basis for the development of beta-cell dysfunction in type 2 diabetes in order to develop new rational strategies for the treatment and prevention of this disease.
Current projects are focused on determining the molecular basis for the development of beta-cell dysfunction for drug target identification and subsequent validation. These include:
1. Determining the molecular basis for the development of beta-cell dysfunction to identify novel drug targets.
a) Determining the role of ER stress and the unfolded protein response (UPR) in beta-cell adaptation and dysfunction.
b) Determining the role of mTOR in beta-cell compensation.
c) Determining the role of beta-cell amino acid transporters in the development of type-2 diabetes using transgenic mouse models.
d) Identification of the beta cell ‘mRNP-ome’ using comparative mass spectroscopy and determining the role of these proteins in beta-cell function
2. The validation of new treatments for type 2 diabetes.
a) Investigating the efficacy of flavanols in the treatment of type-2 diabetes
PhD opportunities are currently available in my laboratory!!!
If you are interested in applying for PhD position in my laboratory (self-funded or through a Scholarship Scheme) please contact me via e-mail.
Diabetes, Pharmacology, Cell signalling, Gene expression, Islet biology, Molecular and cellular biology