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Personal profile

Research Interests

Ageing and metabolism

Ageing and metabolism are intrinsically linked. My research includes investigating the effect that aged cells have on cells that regulate nutrient homeostasis (muscle cells, adipocytes and liver cells) and studying the impact that metabolic disease such as diabetes have on the ageing process.

Adipocyte-secreted factors

My research into adipokines (factors released from body fat) has continued since my PhD. Currently, our work focuses on the impact that adipokines have on glucose homeostaisis and cardiovascular risk.

Type 2 diabetes in young adults (T2DMY)

Increasing numbers of young people (aged <40 at point of diagnosis) are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Our research on a cohort of T2DMY in the Birmingham area has shown that this is a more aggressiove form of the condition, with comorbidities and diabetes-related issues occuring earlier and with increasesd severity. By better understanding the mechanisms of T2DMY and by employing interventions we hope to improve the lives of people with this condition.

Frailty in type 2 diabetes

Functional decline associated with the ageing process and the onset of frailty is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the UK. Estimates suggest that as many as 8.5% of women and 4.5% of men known as ‘young-old’ (65-74) in the UK can be classified as being frail. Diabetes and frailty may be causally related and operate through each of the key components of the frailty phenotype or via associated medical co-morbidities. The presence of frailty in a setting of diabetes increases the level of disability and leads to poorer clinical outcomes.

Exercise and PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects how a woman's ovaries work and which is assopciated with unpleasant side effectsm, including obesity and metabolic disturbance. Our work has assessed the impact of exercise interventions on PCOS, and attempts to also understand the barriers to exercise and the cardiovascular risks associated with women with PCOS who do not get enough physical activity.


Our work on breast cancer includes understanding the role of water channels known as aquaporins, and evaluating the cytotoxicity of a plant extract (fagonia indica) in druge resistant breast and colon cancer cells

Teaching Activity

I am Undergraduate Admissions Tutor for the Biosciences department in the School of Life and Health Sciences.

My teaching is largely focussed on physiology, and I currently run or teach on physiology modules in year 1, year 2, final year and for MSc students. I also teach on anatomy modules, modules on ageing and on endocrinology. In addition to my teaching in the School of Life and Health Sciences, I also teach on the MBChB in Aston Medical School

Membership of Professional Bodies

I am a Trustee and Communications Officer for the British Society for Research on Ageing (BSRA), the world's oldest ageing research society. I am also a member of the Physiology Society, Diabetes UK and the British Geriatrics Society.

Media Contributions

I am the Media Champion for the School of Life and Health Sciences, and have an extensive record of media engagement including over 60 million accumulated viewers.

Examples include:

  1. Trust Me I’m a Doctor, BBC2,  January 10th 2016
  2. The Truth About Fat, BBC1,  February 14th 2016
  3. The Truth About Healthy Eating, BBC1,  June 1st 2016
  4. Trust Me I’m a Doctor, BBC2,   September 1st 2016
  5. How to Lose Weight Well, Channel 4, January 10th 2017
  6. BBC News – obesity crisis,  26th April 2017
  7. BBC News 24 – sugar tax,  May 19th 2017
  8. How To Stay Young, BBC1,  September 20th 2017
  9. Trust Me I’m a Doctor, BBC2, January 3rd 2018
  10. Holding Back The Years, BBC1,  BBC1, March 12th 2018
  11. ITV Tonight (OAPBootcamp),  ITV1, April 7th 2018
  12. The Truth About Obesity, BBC1,  April 27th 2018
  13. Get A Holiday Body: Lose A Stone In 4 Weeks,  Channel 5, June 7th 2018
  14. BBC Midlands Today, BBC1,  July 20th 2018
  15. Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds series 2 (5 episodes),  Channel 4 series 2,  October 2018
  16. Trust Me I’m a Doctor, BBC2, 8Th September 2018,
  17. Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds Christmas Special,  Channel 4 December 14th 2018

Contact Details

Email: j.e.p.brown@aston.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0) 121 204 5039
Twitter: @afatscientist

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Wolverhampton

1 Sep 199925 Jul 2005

Award Date: 20 Mar 2006

External positions

External Examiner, University of Ulster

30 Sep 2001 → …


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