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Research groups

Laura McKillop

Novo Nordisk Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Postdoctoral Research Scientist
  • Sir Paul Nurse Junior Research Fellow at Linacre College


I started my Novo Nordisk Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in September 2018, at the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. This is a highly collaborative project spanning the fields of metabolism and neuroscience, supervised by Associate Professor Vladyslav Vyazovskiy in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics and Associate Professor Stuart Peirson in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Dr James Cantley now based at the University of Dundee.  

The aim of this project is to investigate the link between glucose homeostasis and fasting-induced torpor in mice. Daily torpor is a fascinating physiological state during which metabolic rates and body temperature can dramatically decrease. In mice this occurs in response to energetic challenges such as reduced food availability, as a way of conserving energy. Our project utilises a wide range of techniques from recordings of metabolic rates and body temperature, to recordings of brain activity using complex electrophysiological techniques such as electroencephalography (EEG), in order to investigate the role of glucose homeostasis in daily torpor. We are also establishing the new technique, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) in our lab, which allows for continuous recording of blood glucose, core body temperature and activity. This is an exciting opportunity to investigate the physiological mechanisms and the potential metabolic costs associated with torpor.


I hold a BSc Medical Sciences (Industrial) degree from the University of Leeds, with a specialisation in neuroscience. My DPhil was in the laboratory of Associate Professor Vladyslav Vyazovskiy in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG) at the University of Oxford. The main aim of my DPhil was to characterise the cortical neural activity underlying the effects of ageing on sleep. In particular, I was interested in how properties of slow waves, the predominant brain oscillation occurring during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, are affected by ageing. Both my BSc and DPhil were in collaboration with the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, UK.