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

Dr Zaki Hassan-Smith

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
Clinical Lecturer

Contact details

+44 (0)121 415 8811
+44 (0)121 415 8712
Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Zaki Hassan-Smith is a Clinical Lecturer in Endocrinology at the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research at the University of Birmingham and the Centre of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Birmingham Health Partners.

 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 interests focus on outcomes in Cushing’s Syndrome and Metabolic Bone Disease.    

 Zaki has been awarded the Mayo Clinic Fellowship and the Society for Endocrinology Young Endocrinologist prize for top scoring oral communication at the British Endocrine Society Conference. He trained in London and Birmingham with previous posts funded by the European Research Council, and the NIHR. 


  • 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 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 under the Supervision of Profs Marta Korbonits and Ashley Grossman on genotyping single nucleotide polymorphisms in the ghrelin and GHRH receptors. He was House Officer at the Department of Endocrinology at Bart’s. He completed his Senior House Officer rotation at Bart’s and the London, during which time he obtained his MRCP.

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 Prof. Paul Stewart on the role of pre-receptor glucocorticoid metabolism (via the 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases) in ageing, sarcopenia and metabolic diseases.

In addition he has led on outcome studies of Cushing’s disease and collaborated with international partners in this area. He was awarded the Young Endocrinologist Prize for Top Scoring Oral Communication by the Society for Endocrinology, the Mayo Clinic Research Fellowship and a number of small grants covering educational and media activities. He has a number publications in leading medical journals (including JCI, PNAS, JACC, Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, JCEM). 

In his clinical lecturer post he has investigated the role of vitamin D metabolism in determining human muscle function working with Profs Martin Hewison (IMSR) group and Prof. 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.

He has a number of active multi-disciplinary collaborations (statistics, mathematics, sports & exercise, industry, clinical). He is passionate about science communication and public engagement and has taken part in a number of activities in this area including British Science Week, Sense about Science Media Workshops and Special Select Committees at the Houses of Parliament. He maintains clinical interests in endocrinology and metabolic bone disease.


Dr Hassan-Smith completed a Medical Education Post-Graduate Award at Warwick University in 2009, and has taken an active interest in teaching in the following areas at the University of Birmingham:

  • SGT Adrenal, Reproductive, Pituitary, Calcium/Bone Modules MBChB
  • Endocrinology of Ageing Lecture BMedSci
  • Glucocorticoid metabolizing enzymes and skeletal ageing BClinSci Lecture 
  • Supervisor SSM 4th Year MBChB students: Use of Corticosteroids
BDS (Dentistry) - Computer Practicals on Adrenals/Diabetes MPharm - SGT and Lectures


Featured Active Research Projects

  • Vitamin D and human muscle function.
  • Pre-receptor glucocorticoid metabolism, across human ageing.

Long-term outcomes in Cushing’s disease.

Other activities

Honorary SpR at UHB

Organiser of UHB Endocrine Clinical Cases Meetings 2011-2013

Public engagement:

  • Dr Hassan-Smith sat on the Voice of the Future Special Select Committee at the Houses of Parliament in 2014 and 2015 - where he asked questions to Shadow Universities Minister Liam Byrne and the Science Technology Select Committee.
  • He is a Member of Sense About Science and received a Grant from the Society for Endocrinology to attend their Media Training Workshop.
  • He contributed to the 'How Old Are You?' Event at the British Science Festival in 2014.
  • ‘You and Your Hormones’ SfE Public Information Website – Contributor/Peer Reviewer 2012-Present


  • King's Fund Aspiring Leaders
  • European Post-Graduate Pituitary Training (EUROPIT) Academy of Medical Sciences Career Development Imperial Insulin Pump Heart of England Retinal Screening Advanced Life Support


Hassan-Smith ZK, Hewison M, Gittoes N. The impact of Vitamin D deficiency in the developed world. British Medical Bulletin 2016

 Clayton RN, Jones PW, Reulen RC, Stewart PM, Hassan-Smith ZK,et al. Ntali G, Karavitaki N, Dekkers O, Pereira A, Bolland M, Holdaway I, Lindholm J. Mortality in Cushing’s disease more than 10 years after remission – A multicentre study. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2016.

Ferreira VM, Marcelino M, Piechnik SK, Marini C, Karamitsos TD, Ntusi N, Francis JM, Robson MD, Arnold R, Mihai R, Thomas JD, Herincs M, Hassan-Smith ZK et al.Pheochromocytoma is characterised by catecholamine myocarditis, focal and diffuse fibrosis and myocardial dysfunction. Journal of Amercian College of Cardiology. 2016 May 24;67(20):2364-74.

Morgan SA, Hassan-Smith ZK, Sherlock M,Stewart PM, Lavery GG. Glucocorticoids and 11β-HSD1 are Major Regulators of Intramyocellular Protein Metabolism – Implications for Circulatory Glucocorticoid Excess. Journal of Endocrinology. Epub 2016 April 5

Morgan SA, Hassan-Smith ZK, Lavery GG. MECHANISMS IN ENDOCRINOLOGY: Tissue-specific activation of cortisol in Cushing’s Syndrome. European Journal of Endocrinology. Epub 2016 Mar 8.

Jenkinson C, Taylor AE, Hassan-Smith ZK, Adams JS, Stewart PM, Hewison M, Keevil BG. High throughput LC-MS/MS method for the simultaneous analysis of multiple vitamin D analytes in serum. Journal of Chromatography B. Epub 2016 Feb 2.  

Hassan-Smith ZK, Morgan SA, Sherlock M, Hughes B, Taylor AE, Lavery GG, Tomlinson JW, Stewart PM. Gender-specific differences in skeletal muscle 11β-HSD1 expression across healthy aging. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Jul; 100(7):2673-81. Epub 2015 May 19. 

Morgan SA, McCabe EL, Gathercole LL, Hassan-Smith ZK et al. 11β-HSD1 is a major regulator of the tissue-specific effects of circulating glucocorticoid excess. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2014 Jun 17;111(24):E2482-91.Epub 2014 Jun 2.

 Thomas JM, Dourish CT, Tomlinson JW, Hassan-Smith Z, Higgs S. Effects of the 5-HT2C receptor agonist meta-chlorophenylpiperazine on appetite, food intake and emotional processing in healthy volunteers. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2014, Jun, 231(12):2449-59, Epub 2014 Jan.

 Tiganescu A, Tahrani A, Morgan S, Otranto M, Desmouliere A, Abrahams L, Hassan-Smith Z et al. 11ß-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase blockade prevents age-induced skin structure and function defects. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2013 Jul 1;123(7):3051-60, Epub 2013 Jun 3.

 Douglas MD, Hassan-Smith Z, Ruff RL. Endocrine Myopathies. (Book Chapter) Neuromuscular disorders in clinical practice. Edited by Katirji B, Kaminski HJ, Ruff RL. 2nd Edition (Springer) May 31, 2013.

 Morgan SA, Gathercole LL, Simonet C, Hassan-Smith ZK, Bujalska I, Guest P, Abrahams L, Smith DM, Stewart PM, Lavery GG, Tomlinson J. Regulation of lipid metabolism by Glucocorticoids and 11ß-HSD1 in skeletal muscle. Endocrinology. 2013 Jul;154(7):2374-84, Epub 2013 Apr 30.

Hassan-Smith ZK, Sherlock M, Reulen RC, Arlt W, Ayuk J, Toogood AA, Cooper MS, Johnson AP, Stewart PM. Outcome of Cushing’s disease following transphenoidal surgery in a single center over 20 years. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Apr;97(4):1194-201, Epub 2012 Jan 25

 Ahasan MM, Hardy R, Jones C, Kaur K, Nanus D, Juarez M, Morgan SA, Hassan-Smith Z et al. Inflammatory regulation of glucocorticoid metabolism in mesenchymal stromal cells. Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Jul;64(7):2404-13.

Hassan-Smith Z, Cooper MS. Overview of the endocrine response to critical illness: how to measure it and when to treat. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Oct;25(5):705-17.

Hassan-Smith Z, Stewart PM. Inherited forms of mineralocorticoid hypertension. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2011 Jun;18(3):177-85.

Hassan-Smith ZK, Gopinath P, Mihaimeed F. A UK-Wide Survey of Life-threatening Thyroidectomy Complications. J Thyroid Res. 2011 Feb 10.

 Garcia EA, Heude B, Petry CJ, Gueorguiev M, Hassan-Smith ZK, Spanou A, Ring SM, Dunger DB, Wareham N, Sandhu MS, Ong KK, Korbonits M. Ghrelin receptor gene polymorphisms and body size in children and adults. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Oct;93(10):4158-61. Epub 2008 Jul 22.