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Visiting Professors

Professor John Michael Conlon

Michael Conlon


BSc in Chemistry from University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1969) and DPhil from University if Sussex (1973). After post-doctoral fellowships at University College, Dublin, Queen’s University, Belfast, Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, USA and University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Professor Conlon became Leiter (Director) of the Clinical Research Group for Gastrointestinal Endocrinology at the Max Planck Society at the University of Gottingen, Germany (1983-88) and Professor of Biochemistry at Creighton University Medical School, Omaha, USA (1989-2002). From 2002-2014, he was Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine and Health Sciences of UAE University and in 2013 was appointed Visiting Professor at Ulster University. He is author of over 500 peer-reviewed publications (h-index 62) and is currently Associate Editor of Peptides.

Research Interests

Endocrinology of the gastrointestinal tract and pancreas with emphasis on peptide hormones from non-mammalian vertebrates
Comparative neuroendocrinology with emphasis on the molecular evolution of neuroendocrine peptides
Isolation and characterization of peptides with antimicrobial, anticancer, immunomodulatory and insulin-releasing properties from frog skin and snake venom.

Teaching Interests

Biochemistry, Peptide Chemistry, Endocrinology

Research Profiles

Profile on Research Gate
Profile on Google Scholar

PhD Researchers

Prawej Ansari

Prawej Ansari received a B.Sc. (Hons) in Pharmacy with distinction from the International Islamic University Chittagong, Bangladesh in 2013. He was awarded a Masters of Pharmacy degree Magna Cum Laude from the North South University, Bangladesh in 2015. He is a registered Pharmacist since 2014 and worked as a Teaching and Research Assistant during his Master’s degree. He has published more than 25 journal articles and has served in the role of reviewer and editorial board member. Ansari joined the Diabetes Research Group in September 2016 as a PhD researcher. His research focuses on the isolation and characterization of phytochemicals with insulin releasing and glucose lowering effects for treatment of type-2 diabetes.

Supervisors : Dr Yasser Abdel-Wahab and Professor Peter Flatt

Sarah Craig

Sarah, from Ballymoney in County Antrim, graduated in 2017 from Ulster University. She gained a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Science with a Diploma in Professional Practice with first class honours. During her university course, she completed a one-year placement in Randox Laboratories where she developed a keen interest in research and development. Sarah joined the Diabetes Research group as a PhD researcher in September 2017 to work on xenin-based peptides as potential therapeutics for type 2 diabetes.

Supervisors: Victor Gault and Nigel Irwin

Galyna Graham

Galyna graduated from Ulster University gaining a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Science with Diploma in Professional Practice. During her University course she completed a 1 year placement in the Biochemistry Laboratory at Altnagelvin Area Hospital. Being interested in the treatment of diabetes and the development of new antidiabetic drugs, Galyna joined the Diabetes Research Group in September 2015. Her PhD research concentrates on evolutionary aspects of glucagon, GLP-1 and GIP and their specific receptors. This research may contribute to better understanding of the biological function of these peptides and their potential for antidiabetic drug design.

Supervisors : Peter Flatt, Mike Conlon and Dr Abdel-Wahab

Dawood Kahn

Dawood has been member of Diabetes Research Group as a PhD researcher since September 2013. He graduated from Amity University, India where he gained a BSc (Hons) degree in biotechnology with first division. This involved internships for manufacture of oral polio vaccine, in-silico drug designing for male pattern baldness and development of biological software for visually impaired students. He went on to complete MSc in Biotechnology with distinction at Ulster University. His MSc project focused on anti-diabetic properties of peptides secreted from frog skin. His PhD research evaluates the expression and role of non-classical islet peptides in beta cell function and survival.

Supervisors : Peter Flatt and Neville McClenaghan

Natalie Klempel

Natalie grew up in the United States and graduated with a bachelors in Kinesiology from Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas.  This generated a burning interest in anatomy and pathology, leading to completion of MSc in Human Anatomy (with merit)  from the University of Dundee. In September 2016, Natalie joined the Diabetes Research Group for PhD studies.  Her research focuses on the mechanism of action of an alpha cell toxin and the essential role of glucagon in diabetes.

Supervisors : Professor Peter Flatt, Professor Neville McClenaghan and Dr. Charlotte Moffett

Andrew McCloskey

Andrew joined the Diabetes Research Group in September 2015. Previously, he studied for four years in the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, where he gained a BSc (Hons) in Bioanalytical Science. During his undergraduate study, he developed an active interest in pharmaceutical research and development. Subsequently, he joined the Ulster University to undertake a PhD. His research, funded by Diabetes UK, focuses on the role of novel G-protein coupled receptors with respect to islet cell function and glucose homeostasis.

Supervisors : Aine McKillop and Peter Flatt

Michael Miskelly

Michael’s previous qualifications include a BSc (Hons) in Genetics and an MSc in Biomolecular Structure and Function both of which were obtained from Queen’s University of Belfast. Michael carried out research on phylogenetics as an undergraduate and during his Master’s degree his research focused on ribosome biogenesis in breast cancer. He joined the Diabetes Research Group in June 2014 and is currently working towards a PhD investigating the role of G-protein coupled receptors in incretin hormone secretion.

Supervisors : Aine McKillop and Peter Flatt

Shruti Mohan

Shruti joined the Diabetes Research Group in September 2015. She graduated from SASTRA University, Thanjavur, India with BTech in Bioengineering and MTech in Medical Nanotechnology. She has explored various fields of research in India, USA and Japan. Her passion towards the biomedical sciences grew when she started reading about different signalling pathways and various related disorders. She wanted to focus on diabetes as a disorder needing new treatment options as well as better knowledge on the intricacies of the disease itself. She aims to combine her engineering skills to design and study therapeutic peptides as part of her PhD in the Diabetes Research Group. She is currently working with Peter Flatt and Aine McKillop on a novel GPR agonist which has shown impressive potential for improving glucose control in diabetes.

Supervisors : Peter Flatt and Aine McKillop

Vishal Musale

Vishal joined the Diabetes Research Group in September 2015 as PhD researcher under supervision of Yasser Abdel-Wahab and Peter Flatt. His research work focuses on elucidating long term metabolic effects of frog skin peptides in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. He developed a strong inclination towards novel therapeutic strategies during MSc in Biotechnology at Ulster where he worked in this area. Previously, Vishal completed a BSc (Hons) degree in microbiology from Shivaji University in India.

Supervisors : Yasser Abdel-Wahab and Peter Flatt.

Rachele Perry

Rachele comes from Dromara, a small village in County Down. She began her training as a hairdresser and worked in a number of elite salons in Northern Ireland. After eight years she decided to take a sabbatical, traveling through Australasia, the United States and Canada. Whilst away she decided on a career change. Upon completion of an access course, she commenced studies at Ulster University for BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences degree with a Diploma in Professional Practice. This included completion of Health and Care Professions Council’s registration portfolio to practice as a biomedical scientist and an investigative project supervised by Mike Conlon on the insulinotropic effects and therapeutic potential of snake venom derived from the black mamba. Rachele joined Diabetes Research Group as PhD researcher in September 2015 to work on gut derived incretin hormones as diabetes therapeutics.

Supervisors : Victor Gault and Peter Flatt

Ryan Lafferty

Ryan graduated with a Master’s Degree in pharmacy in 2014, which he obtained while studying at Queen’s University Belfast. He subsequently began his pre-registration year as a pharmacist, working in a community pharmacy in West Belfast. Upon qualification, he began working as a locum-pharmacist in the greater Belfast area. His interest in diabetes was spiked after being recruited as a consultant pharmacist for a small start-up company, who developed a novel blood-glucose monitor. This experience imparted a desire to further study diabetes, resulting in the undertaking of a PhD within the Diabetes Research Group at Ulster, which he started in September 2016. He is currently investigating the therapeutic potential of a range of novel PYY peptides, with the aim of developing a hybrid peptide with several gut-hormones.

Supervisors: Prof. Peter Flatt and Dr. Nigel Irwin

Dipak Sarnobat

Dipak Sarnobat obtained BSc and MSc degrees with upper first class honours from Shivaji University, India. Later in 2014, he completed a Master’s degree in biotechnology at Ulster University. He also worked for a period in the insulin manufacturing industry. During the MSc project at Ulster, Dipak worked on the insulinotropic properties of peptides which fired his interest in diabetes research.  Dipak is currently working on a project on treatment of type 2 diabetes using genetically engineered mice to generate insulin producing cells from non-beta cell lineages.

Supervisors : Professor Neville McClenaghan, Professor Peter Flatt and Dr Charlotte Moffett

Neil Tanday

Neil grew up in Kent and moved to London to undertake an MSc in integrated pharmacology and physiology at King’s College London. In his final year, he developed a keen interest in diabetes having spent six months working on a project to improve islet transplantation therapy. In September 2015 he joined the Group Research Group at Ulster University to carry out a PhD under the supervision of Peter Flatt. His research will focus on investigating how the plasticity of the endocrine pancreas can be used to treat diabetes.

Supervisor : Peter Flatt

Sagar Vyavahare

Sagar graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Animal and Veterinary Sciences from India with MSc in Animal Biotechnology. He decided to study abroad and obtained MSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from University of Hertfordshire. During this, he developed a keen interest in diabetes and decided to undertake research degree in this area. Sagar is currently pursuing PhD in Diabetes Research Group on the use of incretin peptides for treatment of fragility fractures in diabetes.

Supervisors : Nigel Irwin and Peter Flatt

Past PhD Researchers

All PhD Researchers from 1991

YearStudent Thesis Title External Examiner
1991 Shibier, O Evaluation of stimulus-secretion coupling in permeabilised insulin-secretory cells Prof Green, IC, Brighton
1993 Abdel-Wahab, YHA Glycation of insulin: a novel aspect of pancreatic B-cell dysfunction contributing to glucose intolerance Dr Robb, D, Glasgow
1995 Wilson, AM The role of hyperglycaemia in pancreatic B-cell dysfunction Prof Buchanan, K, Belfast
1996 Gallagher nee Gray AM Studies on the efficacy and mechanism of action of traditional plant treatments for diabetes mellitus Prof Furman, BL, Glasgow
  McClenaghan, NH Studies of novel insulin-secreting cell line Prof Sharpe, GWG, Ithaca
1997 Boyd, AC Clinical and experimental studies on glycated human insulin Prof Marks, V. Surrey
  Clarke, JC Cytochrome P450-dependent mixed function oxidases and functional integrity of the pancreatic B-cell Prof Ioannides, C, Surrey
  McDonagh, M Role of energy restriction and environmental agent exposure in the aetiology of malnutrition-related diabetes mellitus Prof Tomkin, G, Dublin
1998 Lees, D Xenobiotic metabolism and hum pathology: cytochrome p4502e1- mediated pancreatic cell dysfunction and destruction Prof Ioannides, C, Surrey
1999 A McGloin (Aileen) The role of physical inactivity and a high fat diet in the development of childhood obesity Prof Shetty P, London
  Hamid, M (Muhajir) Production and characterisation of novel human immortal islet cell lines Prof Buchanan, K, Belfast
  Hannon M Role of lymphocyte p450-mediated chemical bioactivation in the aetiology of disease Prof Tomkin G, Dublin
  Meade, AM GTP-binding protein involvement in the final stages of insulin exocytosis from pancreatic b-cells Dr Curry, WJ, Belfast
2000 Ball, AJ Engineering human insulin-secreting cells for studies of b-cell function and transplantation Prof Dunne, MJ, Manchester
  Mooney, MH (Mark) Role of gastrointestinal and hypothalamic peptides in the regulation of food intake and metabolism of obesity and diabetes Prof Marks, V, Surrey
2001 Gault, VA Actions and antidiabetic potential of amino-terminally modified analogues of glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide Prof Marks, V. Surrey
  Marenah, L Natural product discovery: Isolation and characterisation of novel antidiabetic agents Prof Bailey, CJ. Aston
2002 Green, BD (Brian) Amino-terminally modified analogues of glucagon-like peptide-1: actions and antidiabetic potential Prof Owens, D, Cardiff

Liu Hui Kong

Modification of the function of insulin-secreting cells by beta cell toxins, differentiating drugs, insulin mimetics steroids and incretion hormones and their stable analogues. Prof Bone, AJ, Brighton
  Mahood, K (Isobel) Glycated insulin and its role in the pathogenesis of diabetes. Dr O’Cuinn, G, Galway
  Picton, S Acute and long term effects of nutrients, nutrient esters, drugs and cytotoxins on pancreatic beta cell function and integrity. Prof Newsholme, P, Perth, Australia
2003 Duffy, JM (Joan) Effects of insulin sensitising agents on pancreatic beta cell function Prof Morgan, N, Exeter
  Hannan, J (Abdul) Studies on the efficacy and mechanism of action of tropical plants for diabetes therapy Prof Furman, B,, Glasgow
  Irwin, N Novel analogues of glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) for potential treatment of type 2 diabetes. Prof Marks, V, Surrey
  Kasabri, V Evaluation of the efficacy and mechanisms of action of traditional plant treatments for diabetes Dr Curry, WJ, Belfast
  Matthews, J (Christine) Pancreatic and extra-pancreatic effects of traditional plant treatments for diabetes Prof Furman, BL, Glasgow
  Patterson, S (Steven) Homocysteine, and the effects of other amino thiols on pancreatic beta cell function and insulin secretion Prof Bailey, CJ, Birmingham
  Sweeney, C (Carmen) New perspectives on the effects of environmental toxicity and anti-diabetic agents on the function of insulin secreting cells Dr Curry, WJ, Belfast
2004 Duffy, N (Nicola) Plasma dipeptidyl peptidase TV activity: Roles indegradation of enternsular Hormones and diabetes Prof Tomkin, G, Dublin
  Graham, C (Ciaran) Isolation and characterisation of the peptides from the skin secretion of the dusky gopher frog Rana Sevosa Prof Lappin, T, Belfast
  McCreesh, B Early detection and monitoring of diabetic macular oedema. Dr North, R, London
  Thomson, H In vitro and in vivo assessment of traditional plant treatments for diabetes Prof Bell, PM, Belfast
2005 Clarke, G Studies of the efficacy and mechanism of action of traditional plant treatment for diabetes Prof Holt, R, Southampton
  Hunter, K Actions and antidiabetic properties of novel long-acting glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide analogues Prof O’Cuinn, G, Galway
  McMenamin, M Evaluation of traditional plant treatments for diabetes using in vitro and in vivo methods Prof Morgan, N, Plymouth
  Moore, nee Hill A Dietary intakes and lifestyle factors of pregnant women in Northern Ireland Dr Morgan, J, Surrey
  Stokesberry, S Functional effects of temperature on pancreatic beta cell insulin secretion and integrity Dr Curry, WJ, Belfast
  Swann, L Evaluation of the presence, function, and possible mechanism of action of the extra cellular calcium receptor in pancreatic cells Prof Newsholme, P, Perth, Australia
  Turbitt, J The role of taurine in the regulation of insulin secretion and pancreatic beta cell function Prof Bailey, CJ, Birmingham
2006 Lavery, K. The role and therapeutic potential of GLP-1 analogues as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Prof Bell. PM, Belfast
  Parker, J. Structure-function aspects and biological actions of glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) Prof Jones, PM, London
2007 D Cromwell Pancreatic beta-cell actions of nutrients and metabolizable nutrient ester derivatives Dr MacFarland W, Brighton
  M Doherty Studies on glycation of islet and intestinal regulatory peptides in diabetes Prof Wilding J, Liverpool
  P McClean Inhibition of GIP signalling alleviates obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes Prof Taylor R, Newcastle
2008 C Kelly (Margaret) Establishment and characterisation of islet hormone producing pseudoislets from clonal pancreatic cell lines Prof Sudgen M, London
  H Guo (Hong) Investigation of the cellular and molecular characteristics of four novel human insulin-secreting beta cell lines in vitro and in vivo Prof Rorsman P, Oxford
  P McGurk Associations between diet, lifestyle factors, blood glucose and foetal outcome in normal and diabetic pregnant women Prof Hadden D, Belfast
2009 S Scullion (Siobhan) Impact of acute or prolonged amino acid exposure on pancreatic beta-cell function demise and destruction Prof Dunne M, Manchester
2010 A Taylor (Ashley) Novel therapeutic approaches to the alleviation of type 2 diabetes Prof Persuad S, London
  B Kerr (Barry) Novel incretion based therapies for type 2 diabetes and obesity Prof Morgan L, Surrey
  G Power Isolation, structural characterisation and mechanisms of action of novel insulin-releasing peptides from amphibian skin secretions Prof White A, Manchester
  P Frizelle Development and evaluation of novel CCK peptide analogues for the treatment of obesity and type II diabetes Prof Nolan J, Copenhagen
  T Ng (Ming) Effects of proinsulin C-peptide and other islet peptides on beta-cell function and insulin secretion Dr Martin L, Belfast
2011 W Porter Neuroprotective and glucoregulatory actions of incretin-based therapies in obesity and diabetes Prof Gribble F, Cambridge
2012 I Montgomery Modulation of gut hormone action as a treatment for obesity-diabetes Prof Cawthorn M, Buckingham
  M Crawford (Michelle) Assessment of glycated insulin as a novel clinical biomarker for pre-diabetes and diabetes Dr Dineen S, Galway
  Z Franklin Evaluation and characterisation of novel glucagon receptor antagonists for type 2 diabetes therapy Prof O’Shea D , Dublin
2013 A Lynch Development and characterisation of novel proglucagon-derived peptide analogues for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes Prof Frost G, London
  C Martin (Christine) Characterisation, biological activity and therapeutic potential of xenin and modified forms in obesity-diabetes Dr Mooney M, Belfast
  L McShane The potential of novel glucagon receptor antagonists alone and in combination with other peptides for the treatment of diabetes Prof Ardill J, Belfast
  O Ojo Peptidomic analysis and biological characterization of novel amphibian skin peptides for the treatment of type 2 diabetes Dr Reimann F, Cambridge
  S Vasu Molecular mechanisms of toxicity and cell damage in clonal human and mouse pancreatic beta cells, alpha cells, and intestinal L cells exposed to diabetic milieu Prof Squires P, Lincoln
  V Cairnduff Nutritional, behavioural and lifestyle factors associated with overweight and obese women during pregnancy and in the post-natal period Prof Bedley C, Dublin
2014 B Moran Unravelling the role of islet G-protein coupled receptors for the treatment of type 2 diabetes Dr Salt I, Glasgow
  C Hogg Apelin and novel stable peptide analogues: assessing their anti-diabetic and anti-obesity potential Prof Wilding J, Liverpool
  C Stevenson The expression and role of dipeptidyl-peptidase-4 (DPP-4) in insulin resistance and diabetes mellitus Prof Tomkin G, Dublin
  J Bronte An evaluation of the diet of women prior to and during pregnancy with particular emphasis on pregnancy complicated by diabetes Prof Murphy K, Galway
  M Sharma Analysis of the effects of incretin-based peptides on human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells Dr Martin L, Belfast
  R Lennox Actions of anti-diabetic drugs on hippocampal dependent cognitive function in obesity and type 2 diabetes Dr King A, London
  RC Moffett Effects of gut hormones on metabolism and the morphology and function of pancreatic islets in pregnancy, obesity and diabetes Prof LeRoux C, London
  V Bhat Pro-glucagon derived peptide therapies for type 2 diabetes and obesity Dr MacFarland W, Brighton
2015 AD Green Investigation of the antidiabetic actions and function of insulin, glucagon and glucagon-like peptide 1 secreting cells for transplantation therapy of diabetes Prof Shaw JAM, Newcastle
  B Owalabi Metabolic and molecular characterization of novel insulinotropic peptides from skin secretions of frogs of the Pipidae family for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Dr Green BD, Belfast
  D Srinivasan Insulinotropic and glucose-lowering peptides from skin secretions of frogs of the Pipidae and Dicroglossidae families with therapeutic potential for treatment of type 2 diabetes Prof Bone AJ, Brighton
  S Mansur Extrapancreatic actions of incretin-based therapies on bone in diabetes mellitus Prof Lyons T, Belfast
  V Pathak Evaluation of gut derived peptides and related novel analogues as antidiabetic therapeutics Dr Dunmore S, Wolverhampton