Professor Davide Calebiro MD PhD DSc

Professor Davide Calebiro

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
Professor of Molecular Endocrinology
Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow

Contact details

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Resarch
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
B15 2TT

Davide Calebiro is a Professor of Molecular Endocrinology and Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research (IMSR) and the Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE) of the University of Birmingham.

He leads a multidisciplinary research team comprising biologists, chemists, physicists, engineers and computer scientists focusing on the basic mechanisms of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signalling and their alterations in endocrine and metabolic diseases. To study GPCR signalling in cells and tissues, they develop and use innovative optical methods based on FRET and single-molecule microscopy, which allow them to directly observe signalling events in living cells with unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution.

His major scientific contributions include the discovery that GPCRs are not only active at the plasma membrane but also at intracellular sites and that these receptors interact among themselves and with other membrane proteins to form dynamic nanodomains at the plasma membrane.

Davide has published 60 research papers, many of which in prestigious scientific journals, attracting several prizes and awards. He is serving on multiple panels and committees, including the Programme Committee of the Society for Endocrinology and the MRC Molecular & Cellular Medicine Board.


  • DSc in Pharmacology and Toxicology 2015
  • PhD in Molecular Medicine 2009
  • CCT in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases 2006
  • MD 2001


Professor Calebiro studied Medicine in Milan and Stockholm and obtained a Clinical Specialization in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases as well as a PhD in Molecular Medicine from the University of Milan. From 2009 to 2018, he led a research group at the Institute of Pharmacology and Bio-Imaging Center of Würzburg University, Germany. He joined the University of Birmingham in 2017, supported by a Birmingham Professorial Fellowship. In 2018, he has been awarded a prestigious Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship.


  • MBChB – Cell Communication: Endocrinology and Pharmacology
  • MPharm – Health, Disease & Therapeutics
  • BSc Biochemistry, BSc Medical Biochemistry, BSc Human Biology – Cell Signalling

Postgraduate supervision

Davide Calebiro acts as primary and secondary supervisor for basic scientists and clinical research training fellows and is a supervisor in the MRC IMPACT Doctoral Training Programme.


The Calebiro group investigates the basic mechanisms of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signalling and their alterations in metabolic and endocrine disease.

A key focus is the development of innovative microscopy methods (such as FRET and single-molecule microscopy), in combination with new biosensors, to monitor receptor signalling directly in living cells and tissues with unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution. This is combined with novel mathematical and computational approaches to extract quantitative information from complex imaging data and model receptor signalling at both molecular and cellular level.

Using this multi-disciplinary approach, the Calebiro group has redefined fundamental mechanisms of GPCR signalling, including the important discovery that GPCRs are not only active at the plasma membrane, as previously thought, but also at intracellular sites such as endosomes and the Golgi complex. These findings challenge the classical model of GPCR signalling and could lead to novel drugs with improved efficacy and less side effects.

Moreover, the Calebiro group has a long-standing experience in the investigation of genetic alterations in GPCR signalling. This has led to the identification of genetic causes of disease, including the discovery that activating mutations in the catalytic α subunit of protein kinase A (PRKACA) are responsible for cortisol-secreting adrenocortical adenomas leading to Cushing’s syndrome.

The ultimate goal of the Calebiro group is to advance our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of GPCR signalling in order to devise innovative pharmacological therapies for endocrine and metabolic diseases.

This video shows single-molecule imaging of individual receptors and G proteins at the surface of a living cell.
Receptors (green) and G proteins (magenta) were labelled with small organic fluorophores, imaged by TIRF microscopy and tracked as they diffuse and interact on the plasma membrane.

Figure 1: Actin filaments provide barriers to receptor diffusion on the plasma membrane. Shown are trajectories of individual receptors (green) overlaid on a superresolved (PALM) image of the actin cytoskeleton (orange). Modified from Sungkaworn et al. Nature 2017. 


Figure 2: Hot spots for GPCR signalling on the surface of living cells as revealed by single-molecule microscopy. Each dot corresponds to an interaction between a receptor and a G protein. Modified from Sungkaworn et al. Nature 2017.


Figure 3: GPCRs signalling in the trans-Golgi network captured by a nanobody recognizing the active Gs protein (Nb37; orange). Modified from Godbole et al. Nat. Commun. 2017


Current group members:

Zsombor Koszegi
Shannon O’Brien
Yann Lanoiselée
Tama Miljus
Jak Grimes
Emma Tripp
Ravi Mistry 

Research Groups and Centres

Follow Davide Calebiro on Twitter @DavideCalebiro

Our Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE)

Other activities

Local committees (selected):

Member, IMSR Executive Committee
Member, COMPARE Management Board

Clinical activities:

Honorary Consultant in Endocrinology, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust 

National Committees (selected):

Member, MRC Molecular & Cellular Medicine Board (MCMB)
Member, Society for Endocrinology Programme Committee


Complete list of published work: 

Selected publications:

Sungkaworn T, Jobin ML, Burnecki K, Weron A, Lohse MJ, Calebiro D. Single-molecule imaging reveals receptor-G protein interactions at cell surface hot spots. Nature. 2017 Oct 26;550(7677):543-547. doi: 10.1038/nature24264.

Bathon K, Weigand I, Vanselow JT, Ronchi CL, Sbiera S, Schlosser A, Fassnacht M, Calebiro D. Alterations in Protein Kinase A Substrate Specificity as a Potential Cause of Cushing Syndrome. Endocrinology. 2019 Feb 1;160(2):447-459. doi: 10.1210/en.2018-00775.

Godbole A, Lyga S, Lohse MJ, Calebiro D. Internalized TSH receptors en route to the TGN induce local Gs-protein signaling and gene transcription. Nat Commun. 2017 Sep 5;8(1):443. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00357-2.

Maiellaro I, Lohse MJ, Kittel RJ, Calebiro D. cAMP Signals in Drosophila Motor Neurons Are Confined to Single Synaptic Boutons. Cell Rep. 2016 Oct 25;17(5):1238-1246. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.09.090.

Calebiro D, Hannawacker A, Lyga S, Bathon K, Zabel U, Ronchi C, Beuschlein F, Reincke M, Lorenz K, Allolio B, Kisker C, Fassnacht M, Lohse MJ. PKA catalytic subunit mutations in adrenocortical Cushing's adenoma impair association with the regulatory subunit. Nat Commun. 2014 Dec 5;5:5680. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6680.

Beuschlein F*, Fassnacht M*, Assié G*, Calebiro D*, Stratakis CA*, Osswald A, Ronchi CL, Wieland T, Sbiera S, Faucz FR, Schaak K, Schmittfull A, Schwarzmayr T, Barreau O, Vezzosi D, Rizk-Rabin M, Zabel U, Szarek E, Salpea P, Forlino A, Vetro A, Zuffardi O, Kisker C, Diener S, Meitinger T, Lohse MJ, Reincke M, Bertherat J, Strom TM, Allolio B. Constitutive activation of PKA catalytic subunit in adrenal Cushing's syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2014 Mar 13;370(11):1019-28. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1310359. *, equal contribution.

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