Frances Ashcroft

Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics
Le Gros Clark Building
South Parks Road

GlaxoSmithKline Royal Society Research Professor

Frances Ashcroft’s research focuses on ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels and their role in insulin secretion.

Mutations in this channel cause a rare genetic form of diabetes and Frances's work has enabled many people born with this disease to switch from insulin to tablet therapy.   Her current goals are to elucidate (i) why a rise in the blood glucose concentration fails to stimulate sufficient insulin release in type 2 diabetes; and (ii) how body mass is regulated by the fat-mass-and-obesity related gene, which predisposes to obesity and diabetes. She believes legislation may be needed to curb the obesity epidemic that is currently fuelling a dramatic rise in type 2 diabetes.

Frances has written a textbook Ion Channels and Disease and two popular science books: Life at the Extremes and The Spark of Life. She is also Director of OXION, a training and research programme on the integrative physiology of ion channels, funded by the Wellcome Trust.


Recent Relevant Publications: 

Ashcroft FM, Rorsman P (2012) Diabetes and the beta-cell: the last ten years. Cell, 148, 1160-1171.

Church C, Moir L, McMurray F, Girard C, Banks GT, Teboul L, Wells S, Brüning JC, Nolan PM, Ashcroft FM, Cox RD (2011) Overexpression of Fto leads to increased food intake and results in obesity. Nature Genet 42, 1086-1092.

Clark RH, McTaggart JS, Webster R, Mannikko R, Iberl M, Sim XL, Rorsman P, Glitsch M, Beeson D, Ashcroft FM (2010) Muscle dysfunction caused by a KATP channel mutation in neonatal diabetes is neuronal in origin. Science 329, 458-461.

Ashcroft FM (2010) New uses for old drugs: neonatal diabetes and sulphonylureas. Cell Metab 11, 179-181.