BHF Intermediate Fellow and Associate Professor
My research revolves around metabolism and the heart – understanding why metabolism is important and what the consequences are when it goes wrong.
My passion for metabolism began during my undergraduate degree in Medical Biochemistry at the University of Surrey. I loved the way everything fitted together into this complex jigsaw, which in many ways resembled the London Underground map. And just like a public transport network, if something goes wrong with one enzyme or pathway, the whole system can either adapt or grind to a halt.
I joined the Department in 2003 as a DPhil student of Prof Kieran Clarke. My doctoral research investigated the role of abnormal substrate metabolism in the development of cardiac hypertrophy. My subsequent post-doctoral research focused on the role of mitochondrial metabolism in cardiac disease progression.
In 2011 I was awarded a Diabetes UK RD Lawrence Fellowship, to study the role of hypoxia and metabolism in the type 2 diabetic heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes, and patients have increased incidence of, and decreased recovery following myocardial infarction.
In 2018 I was awarded a British Heart Foundation Intermediate Fellowship, to study why fat accumulation in the diabetic heart is such a bad thing. We are studying what fats can do to the function of the cardiomyocyte, and how they might be signalling to activate deleterious processes.
Fatty acids prevent Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1α signalling through decreased succinate in diabetes
Heather L. et al, (2018), JACC: Basic to Translational Science
Inhibition of sarcolemmal FAT/CD36 by sulfo-N-succinimidyl oleate rapidly corrects metabolism and restores function in the diabetic heart following hypoxia/reoxygenation.
Mansor LS. et al, (2017), Cardiovascular Research
Increased oxidative metabolism following hypoxia in the type 2 diabetic heart, despite normal hypoxia signalling and metabolic adaptation.
Heather L. et al, (2015), The Journal of Physiology
Differential translocation of the fatty acid transporter, FAT/CD36, and the glucose transporter, GLUT4, coordinates changes in cardiac substrate metabolism during ischemia and reperfusion.
Heather LC. et al, (2013), Circ Heart Fail, 6, 1058 - 1066
Metabolism, hypoxia and the diabetic heart
Heather LC. and Clarke K., (2011), Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, 50, 598 - 605
The 'Goldilocks zone' of fatty acid metabolism; to ensure that the relationship with cardiac function is just right.
Kerr M. et al, (2017), Clinical science (London, England : 1979), 131, 2079 - 2094