Professor David J. Hodson BVSc (Hons) PhD FRCVS

Professor David J. Hodson

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
Professor of Cellular Metabolism, Professorial Research Fellow

Contact details

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research (IMSR)
Institute of Biomedical Research
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

David is Professor of Cellular Metabolism, Professorial Research Fellow and ERC Starting Grant holder.  He has particular interest in using multidisciplinary and innovative approaches (e.g. biophotonics, mouse genetics, modelling, chemical biology) to tackle challenging research questions in diabetes. The overall objective of his work is to identify new mechanisms through which insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells fail during metabolic stress. 


  • Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (FRCVS), London, 2018
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Bristol, 2008
  • Bachelor of Veterinary Science with Honours (BVSc Hons), University of Bristol, 2005


David Hodson - Next generation tools to understand endocrine function in health and disease
Life Sciences in Six - Professor David Hodson
Dr David Hodson: Diabetes research breakthrough
Being a Birmingham Fellow

David Hodson completed a degree in Veterinary Science before undertaking doctoral studies in reproductive physiology and circadian biology at the University of Bristol. Subsequently, in 2008, he moved to the laboratory of Dr. Patrice Mollard at the Institut de Genomique Fonctionnelle in Montpellier France (CNRS), where, supported by a Fellowship from the Fondation de la Recherche Medicale (FRM), he pursued postdoctoral studies focused on understanding how endocrine cells residing within the mammalian pituitary gland function as three-dimensional networks to generate hormone release. Following award of a Diabetes UK RD Lawrence Fellowship in 2012, David moved to the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, where he set up a research group devoted to understanding beta cell heterogeneity in health and disease. In 2016, David moved to the nascent Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research (IMSR) at the University of Birmingham where he leads the Islet Biology Group.


Postgraduate supervision

Currently supervisor to two PhD students and two MSc students.


Research in our lab revolves around the use of sophisticated imaging modalities (e.g. high-speed multibeam, two-photon, super-resolution), combined with chemical biology, recombinant technologies and genetic manipulation, to interrogate and decipher the population basis for hormone secretion from endocrine tissues in situ and in vivo. Focussing predominantly upon rodent and human islets of Langerhans, these studies have demonstrated a novel mode of incretin action which boosts insulin release through coaxing beta cell cooperativity, a role for GWAS-identified genes in regulating human beta cell-beta cell interconnectedness, and dual orchestration of metabolic dynamics in a subpopulation of beta cells by glucose and incretin. Currently, our research is supported by Diabetes UK, MRC and EFSD.

Other activities

  • Senior Birmingham Fellow, University of Birmingham, 2016-2018
  • Non-Clinical Lecturer in Cell Biology, Imperial College London, 2012-2016
  • FRM Postdoctoral Fellow, CNRS Montpellier, 2010-2012
  • ANR Postdoctoral Fellow, CNRS Montpellier, 2008-2012
  • Locum Veterinary Surgeon, Bristol, 2005-2008


Fehrentz, T., Huber, F.M.E., Hartrampf, N., Bruegmann, T. Frank, J.A., Fine, N.H.F., Malan, D., Danzl, J.G., Tikhonov, D.B., Sumser, M., Sasse, P., Hodson, D.J., Zhorov, B., Klöcker, N., Trauner, D. (2018). Optical Control of L-Type Ca2+ Channels Using a Diltiazem Photoswitch. Nat Chem Biol. 14(8):764-767.

Podewin, T., Ast, J., Broichhagen, J., Fine, N.H.F., Nasteska, D., Leippe, P., Gailer, M., Buenaventura, T., Kanda, N., Jones, B.J., M’Kadmi, C., Baneres, J-L., Marie, J., Tomas, A., Trauner, D., Hoffmann-Röder, A., Hodson, D.J. (2018). Conditional and reversible activation of class A and B G protein-coupled receptors using tethered pharmacology. ACS Cen Sci. 4(2): 166-179.

Fine, N.H.F., Doig, C.L., Elhassan, Y.S., Vierra, N.C., Marchetti, P., Bugliani, M., Nano, R., Piemonti, L., Rutter, G.A., Jacobson, D.A., Lavery G.G., Hodson, D.J. (2018). Glucocorticoids reprogram beta cell signaling to preserve insulin secretion. Diabetes. 67(2):278-290.

Botfield, H.F., Uldall, M.S., Westgate, C.S.J., Mitchell, J., Hagen, S.M., Gonzalez, A-M, Hodson, D.J., Jensen, R.H., Sinclair, A. J. (2017). A glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist reduces intracranial pressure in a rat model of hydrocephalus. Sci Transl Med. 23;9(404). 

Romano, N., Guillou, A., Hodson, D.J., Martin, A.O., Mollard, P. (2017). Multiple-scale neuroendocrine signals connect brain and pituitary rhythms. Proc Natl Acad USA. 114(9):2379-2382.

Johnston, N.R, Mitchell, R.K., Haythorne, E., Paiva Pessoa, M., Semplici, F., Ferrer, J., Piemonti, L., Marchetti, P., Bugliani, M., Bosco, D., Berishvili, E., Duncanson, P., Watkinson, M., Broichhagen, J., Trauner, D., Rutter, G.A., Hodson, D.J. (2016). Beta cell hubs dictate pancreatic islet responses to glucose. Cell Metab. 24(3):389-401.

Frank, J.A., Yushchenko, D., Hodson, D.J., Lipstein, N., Nagpal, J., Rutter, G.A., Rhee, J-S, Gottschalk, A., Brose, N., Schultz, C., Trauner, D. (2016). Photoswitchable diacylglycerols enable optical control of protein kinase C. Nat Chem Biol. 12(9):755-62.

Broichhagen, J., Johnston, N.R., von Ohlen, Y., Meyer-Berg, H., Jones, B.J., Bloom, S.R., Rutter, G.A., Trauner, D.*, Hodson, D.J.* (2016). Allosteric optical control of a class B G protein-coupled receptor. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 55(19):5865-5868. *Corresponding authors. 

Broichhagen, J., Frank, J.R., Johnston, N.R., Mitchell, R.K., Šmid, K., Marchetti, P., Bugliani, M., Rutter, G.A., Trauner, D.*, Hodson, D.J.* (2015). A red-shifted photochromic sulfonylurea for the remote control of pancreatic beta cell function. Chem Commun. 51:6018–6021. *Corresponding authors.

Broichhagen, J., Podewin, T., Meyer-Berg, H., von Ohlen, Y., Johnston, N.R., Jones, B.J., Bloom, S.R., Rutter, G.A., Hoffmann-Röder, A.*, Hodson, D.J.*, Trauner, D.* (2015). Optical control of insulin secretion using an incretin switch. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 54:15565-9. *Corresponding authors. 


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