When you hear the words metabolism or metabolic perhaps it brings to mind weight loss, body builders or the latest diet trend? In scientific terms, metabolism means all the processes your body uses to transform inputs (food, water, oxygen…) into the fuel and ‘replacement parts’ you need to live and thrive. Plus how your body gets rid of what’s not needed.
Your metabolism includes many hundreds of different molecules and types of chemical reaction so – it’s complicated! And no surprise that there are so many ways our metabolism can go wrong.
What we do
At the IMS-MRL, scientific researchers, medical doctors, nurses and support staff aim to understand diseases of human metabolism and the best ways to treat them. We work together with patients and healthy volunteers, with animal ‘disease models’ (mostly mice), cells growing in dishes or compounds in test tubes. We explore a range of metabolic diseases and conditions including obesity, diabetes and rare metabolic diseases.
We are based in labs within the Addenbrooke’s Treatment Centre (ATC) on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. We also have other spaces around the campus including further labs and space in the animal research facility. Two floors of the Cambridge Clinical Research Facility next door to our main labs are dedicated to metabolic studies involving patients and volunteers.
We are part of the Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science which comprises the IMS-MRL with our MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit, the MRC Epidemiology Unit, and two clinics – the Wolfson Diabetes and Endocrine Centre and the Weston Centre (for children up to 15 years).
Where does our funding come from?
We receive funding to support our infrastructure and core staff from Wellcome (an independent charitable foundation) and the Medical Research Council (a public body which invests in research on behalf of the UK taxpayer). We also receive core support from the National Institute of Health Research (public money for health research and to ensure research results are pulled into the NHS).
Individual researchers and group leaders receive funding to support research posts, and specific research projects or studies from those bodies and from many other public and charitable organisations. These include the European Union, charities such as the British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK, JDRF, Chan Zuckerberg Foundation, Botnar Foundation and Novo Nordisk Foundation and in a few cases from other bodies such as AstraZeneca or Ely Lilly.
How to find out more about our research
You can find highlights from our research publications in the News section of this site and more about all our research areas on our group leader pages. To hear our researchers tell it in their own words, follow the links from our watch or listen page.
You might see us running activities based on our research at local festivals or other public engagement events. Have a look at some of the things we do.