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Ioannis Akoumianakis

MD


DPhil Candidate in Cardiovascular Medicine

I am a DPhil student under the supervision of Prof Charalambos Antoniades. My research focuses on investigating the direct vascular effects of insulin in humans with atherosclerosis, and how these may be influenced by molecules that the adipose tissue (AT) secretes.

Obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes comprise interrelated entities linked to increased risk for vascular complications. Despite recent advances on the field, there is still an unmet need to explore the biology underlying the vascular effects of obesity, insulin resistance (at both the systemic and the potentially the vascular level) and diabetes.

Work from our group has identified AT as a dynamic regulator of vascular function via the secretion of molecules called adipokines. The secretome of AT may undergo drastic changes in resposne to obesity and diabetes, with direct, and not adequately characterised, implications for vascular disease. Exploration of phenotypic changes in AT may help prevent the vascular complications of obesity and diabetes.

During my time with the Antoniades Group, I have focused on performing various ex vivo techniques using fresh human tissue to investigate the effects of obesity and diabetes on the human vasculature in multiple levels, while driving the management of the actively recruiting Oxford cohort for Heart, Vessels and Fat (Ox-HVF cohort). Ox-HVF comprises a unique bioresource able to provide invaluable insights into the molecular mechanisms governing vascular injury associated with obesity and diabetes, as well as the role of AT in regulating such mechanisms.