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Molecular Mechanism of Insulin Resistance


Insulin resistance is a major physiological problem that is associated with an inability of insulin to regulate glucose and lipid metabolism. We now know that metabolism is central to many diseases and how it is regulated in health and disease is a major question.


Professor David James.

Research location

School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Program type



Insulin resistance is the earliest defect observed in people that are at risk of a range of metabolic diseases that include type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. However, the molecular underpinnings of insulin resistance is currently unknown. Several factors have been implicated in insulin resistance including the accumulation of intracellular lipids in cells (particularly ceramides), mitochondrial dysfunction and the accumulation of reactive oxygen species. We are exploring a novel hypothesis that these factors are linked together in a stress pathway to trigger insulin resistance as an attempt by cells to optimize their nutrient availability under appropriate conditions. The project will involve acquisition of cell biology skills and possibly small animal experiments.

Additional information

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2872

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