Dr Zaki Hassan-Smith MBBS BMedSci(Hons) MRCP(Diabetes & Endo) PhD FRCP

Dr Zaki Hassan-Smith

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
Honorary Clinical Associate Professor
Consultant Endocrinologist
NIHR WM CRN Research Scholar,

Contact details

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Zaki Hassan-Smith is Consultant Endocrinologist at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and an Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Birmingham. He has clinical responsibilities in Endocrinology, Metabolic Bone, Bone Genetics/Transition, Thyroid Disease, Antenatal Endocrine/Thyroid and Internal Medicine. He trained in London and Birmingham, UK. His research interests were developed during National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) ACF, European Research Council (ERC) Clinical Research Fellow & Clinical Lecturer posts.

His research interest is in exploring mechanisms of skeletal muscle atrophy in ageing and endocrine disease with a view to translating the findings into clinical therapies. His primary focus is on the role of steroid metabolism (glucocorticoids and vitamin D) in human ageing and its implications for disease states such as sarcopenia, osteoporosis and obesity. This work utilises a wide range of techniques from in-vitro cell culture and in-vivo transgenic models through to human clinical studies. With our ageing population, this work addresses a major challenge for medicine and society in the 21st century. In addition, it utilises the strengths of our local infrastructure by crossing the boundaries between metabolic, systems, ageing research, and translational medicine. His clinical research is focused on improving clinical outcomes and mortality in endocrine diseases (including Metabolic, Rare Bone Disorders and Cushing’s).

He is an Editorial Advisor to the BMJ and a Clinical Advisor to the Cochrane Library Clinical Answers section. He sits on the Society for Endocrinology Public Engagement Committee. He is Lead for (MBChB) 4th Year Clinical Endocrinology Teaching and Senior Academic Tutor at QEHB and has contributed to MBChB, BClinSci, BMedSci, MPharm, BDS courses.


  • Fellowship of Royal College of Physicians 2019
  • Certificate of Completion of Training 2016
  • Speciality Certificate in Endocrinology and Diabetes Royal College of Physicians 2014
  • PhD in Medicine 2014
  • Medical Education Post-Graduate Award 2009
  • Member of the Royal College of Physicians 2007
  • MBBS 2004
  • BMedSci(Hons) 2003


Dr Hassan-Smith’s research interests are in Musculoskeletal Endocrinology, Metabolic/ Rare Bone disease and Precision Endocrinology. He has been awarded an NIHR WM CRN Research Scholarship. He has been awarded EPSRC seedcorn funding. He is an Editorial Advisor to the BMJ. He sits on the Society for Endocrinology Public Engagement Committee and is a Media Ambassador.

He carried out undergraduate and junior medical training at St Bartholomew’s and the Royal London Hospitals. He set out on a path as an academic endocrinologist after completing an intercalated BMedSci project on genotyping single nucleotide polymorphisms in the ghrelin and GHRH receptors. He completed junior medical training on the St Bartholomew’s and the Royal London rotation.

He completed higher speciality training in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Endocrinology in the West Midlands, and has held National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded Academic Clinical Fellow and European Research Council Clinical Research Fellow posts. He completed his PhD under the supervision of Professor Paul Stewart on the role of pre-receptor glucocorticoid metabolism (via the 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases) in ageing, sarcopenia and metabolic diseases.

He was awarded the Young Endocrinologist Prize for Top Scoring Oral Communication by the Society for Endocrinology, the Mayo Clinic Research Fellowship. He has a number publications in leading medical journals (including NEJM, JCI, PNAS, JACC, Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, JCEM and EJE). 

In his clinical lecturer post he has investigated the role of vitamin D metabolism in determining human muscle function working with Professor Martin Hewison (IMSR) group and Professor Neil Gittoes (Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Birmingham Health Partners). In doing so he has performed detailed studies integrating data from muscle function (using jump plate mechanography and grip strength analysis), body composition, high-throughput multi-metabolite vitamin D and glucocorticoid detection, metabolomics, along with gene expression from biopsies.


Dr Hassan-Smith is a Senior Academy Tutor for University of Birmingham Medical Students at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB). He is also clinical teaching lead for 4th year MBChB students during their Endocrinology attachments at QEHB.

Postgraduate supervision

Secondary supervisor on sarcopenia PhD thesis.


Featured research projects

Metabolic Bone/ Rare Bone disease studies (including The TOPaZ trial, The Balance Study, The PARADIGHM registry).

Precision Endocrinology studies – Awarded EPSRC Seedcorn Grant 

Culture-independent, sequence-based pathogen diagnostics: in the field and by the bedside. Co-investigator. Principle investigator GZ Hassan-Smith, Co-investigators: Professor N Loman, Dr J Quick. NIHR Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre. 

Research Groups and Centres

Other activities

  • Editorial Advisor to the British Medical Journal
  • Honorary (Visiting) Professor at Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Coventry University
  • Editorial board member Osteoporosis Reviews (Journal of the Royal Osteoporosis Society)
  • Society for Endocrinology Public Engagement Committee member
  • Clinical Advisor to Cochrane Clinical Answers
  • Senior Academy Tutor (UHB)


Gittoes NJ, Criseno S, Appelman-Dijkstra NM, Bollersev J, Canalis E, Rejnmark L, Hassan-Smith Z (2020) Endocrinology in the time of COVID-19: Management of calcium metabolic disorders and osteoporosis. European Journal of Endocrinology [Epub ahead of print]

Hassan-Smith Z, Hewison M, Gittoes N. Vitamin D Supplementation and Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes (2019) New England Journal of Medicine 381(18):1784-1785

Kamwa V, Hassan-Smith ZK (2019) The inter-relationship between marginal vitamin D deficiency and muscle. Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity 26(6):322-328

Hassan-Smith Z.K, Criseno S, Gittoes N.J.L (2019) Mild primary hyperparathyroidism-to treat or not to treat? British Medical Bulletin 129(1):53-67

Clegg A, Hassan-Smith Z (2018) Frailty and the endocrine system. The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology 6(9):743-752

Hassan-Smith Z.K, Hewison M, Gittoes N (2017) The impact of Vitamin D deficiency in the developed world. British Medical Bulletin122(1):79-89.

Hassan-Smith ZK, Jenkinson C, Smith DJ, Hernandez I, Morgan SA, Crabtree NJ, Gittoes NJ, Gittoes NJ, Keevil BG, Stewart PM, Hewison M (2017) 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 exert distinct effects on human skeletal muscle function and gene expression. PLoS One 12(2):e0170665

Morgan SA, Hassan-Smith ZK, Lavery GC (2016) MECHANISMS IN ENDOCRINOLOGY: Tissue-specific activation of cortisol in Cushing’s Syndrome. European Journal of Endocrinology 175(2):R83-9

Hassan-Smith Z.K, Morgan S.A, Sherlock M, Hughes B, Taylor A.E, Lavery G.G, Tomlinson J.W, Stewart P.M (2015) Gender-specific differences in skeletal muscle 11β-HSD1 expression across healthy aging. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 100(7):2673-81. 

Hassan-Smith Z.K, Sherlock M, Reulen RC, Arlt W, Ayuk J, Toogood AA, Cooper MS, Johnson AP, Stewart PM (2012) Outcome of Cushing’s disease following transphenoidal surgery in a single center over 20 years Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 97(4):1194-201

View all publications in research portal


Dr Hassan-Smith has an interest in science communication and is a regular media contributor to print, online and social media. He sits on the Society for Endocrinology Public Engagement Committee and is also a Media Ambassador for the Society. He provides commentary on his specialist clinical and research interests in metabolic bone disease including osteoporosis, vitamin D deficiency; as well as on conditions relating to ageing such as sarcopenia and the metabolic syndrome. He has also commented on exercise and nutritional advice for healthy ageing. 

Media experience

In addition to the above activities Dr Hassan-Smith has engaged with national and international media outlets including The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Mirror and Mailonline. He has also a contributor to The Conversation. His work at QEHB and the University of Birmingham was featured in the ‘Forward Birmingham’ film produced by John Lewis. He was recently featured on the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology podcast. He is an editorial advisor to the British Medical Journal. Below are some recent examples of his output: