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Department of Biochemistry

Jules Griffin

Lipid profiling and signalling

Understanding how fat metabolism is regulated in the human body is essential to understanding a number of the major pathologies and disorders effecting human health including type II diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis and fatty liver disease. The incidence of both type II diabetes and obesity are rising rapidly across the globe as a result of over nutrition.

The aim of the Griffin group, in conjunction with the Lipid Profiling and Signalling group at MRC Human Nutrition Research, is to understand the regulation of lipid metabolism and its interplay with health and diseases of over nutrition. To address this, we have developed analytical chemistry techniques, including methods using mass spectrometry and high resolution NMR spectroscopy, to analyze a wide range of metabolites in cells, tissue or biofluids as part of a metabolomic approach to defining disease processes.

Currently this programme of work is studying the role hormone receptors (for example the peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARs)) play in regulating lipid metabolism, the interplay between intracellular lipid composition and function and how lipid mediators influence inflammation. This work has also produced industrial collaborations in the areas of drug safety assessment and biomarkers of drug efficacy as part of personalised medicine strategies.

The Griffin group is also actively involved in the designing of bioinformatic and database tools for metabolomics and lipidomics.

Lab members: Dean Ashley, Cecilia Castro, Evelina Charidemou, Jules Griffin, Melanie Gulston, Zoe Hall, Fynn Krause, Xuefei Li, Sonia Liggi, Wanchang Lin, Ke-Di Liu, Ben McNally, Allison Meadows, Helene Mobbs, Gabriele Mocciaro, Steven Murfitt, Antonio Murgia, Maria Ourarova, Michael Weldon, Marta Wylot

Visit group website

Visit MRC Human Nutrition Research website

Key publications:

1 .  Atherton HJ, Gulston MK, Bailey NJ, Cheng KK, Zhang W, Clarke K, Griffin JL. Metabolomics of the interaction between PPAR-alpha and age in the PPAR-alpha-null mouse. Mol  Syst Biol. 2009;5:259.

2.  Roberts LD, Murray AJ, Menassa D, Ashmore T, Nicholls AW, Griffin JL. The contrasting roles of PPARδ and PPARγ in regulating the metabolic switch between oxidation and storage of fats in white adipose tissue. Genome Biol. 2011 Aug 11;12(8):R75.

3.  Dunn WB, Broadhurst DI, Atherton HJ, Goodacre R, Griffin JL. Systems level studies of mammalian metabolomes: the roles of mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Chem Soc Rev. 2010 Aug 17.

4.  Bothwell JH, Griffin JL. An introduction to biological nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc. 2011 86(2):493-510.