Dr Stuart A Morgan

Dr Stuart A Morgan

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
Honorary Senior Research Fellow

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr. Stuart Morgan is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow whose research focuses on identifying novel regulators of metabolism using whole-genome CRISPR-cas9 screening strategies.


  • PhD in Molecular Endocrinology, University of Birmingham, 2010
  • BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry (with Molecular & Cell Biology), University of Birmingham, 2005


In 2006, Stuart undertook his doctoral training with Professor Jeremy Tomlinson at the University of Birmingham, in collaboration with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Here, he investigated the mechanisms by which glucocorticoids, and pre-receptor glucocorticoid metabolism, regulate insulin sensitivity of skeletal muscle.

In 2010, he undertook postdoctoral training at the University of Birmingham with Professor Paul Stewart exploring the mechanisms by which circulating glucocorticoids mediate their tissue-specific metabolic effects. Taking a systems approach to the problem, he identified tissue intrinsic 11β-HSD1 activity to be the major determinant of the metabolic manifestations of circulating glucocorticoid excess. This finding challenged the idea that simple delivery of active glucocorticoids from the circulation represents the most important level of regulation of glucocorticoid action, and highlighted 11β-HSD1 as a novel target for therapeutic intervention in patients with Cushing’s syndrome.

In 2017, Stuart was awarded a Marie Curie Global Fellowship and relocated to Canada where he joined the research group of Prof Carolyn Cummins at the University of Toronto (UofT). Here, he combined his expertise in metabolism and signalling networks, with UofT’s world-leading expertise in whole-genome CRISPR-cas9 screening, to create several state-of-the-art screening platforms that permit high-throughput interrogation of key metabolic pathways in health and diseases.

In 2020, he returned to the University of Birmingham where he continues his research into metabolism using these advanced whole-genome screening approaches.


Stuart’s research tries to better understand the mechanisms by which hormones regulate metabolism using whole-genome CRISPR-cas9 screening strategies.

Currently, he is using these powerful tools to uncover novel genes regulating:

  • Insulin-stimulated GLUT4 trafficking in skeletal myocytes
  • Glucocorticoid action in hepatocytes
  • Gluconeogenesis in hepatocytes

This cutting-edge approach to studying metabolism has potential to significantly advance our understanding of key pathways driving the development of major metabolic disease, including type 2 diabetes.


Doig CL, Fletcher RS, Morgan SA, McCabe EL, Larner DP, Tomlinson JW, Stewart PM, Philp A and Lavery GG (2017). 11β-HSD1 Modulates the Set Point of Brown Adipose Tissue Response to Glucocorticoids in Male Mice. Endocrinology 158(6):1964-1976. doi: 10.1210/en.2016-1722

Larner DP, Morgan SA, Gathercole LL, Doig CL, Guest P, Weston C, Hazeldine J, Tomlinson JW, Stewart PM and Lavery GG (2016). Male 11β-HSD1 Knockout Mice Fed Trans-Fats and Fructose Are Not Protected From Metabolic Syndrome or Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Endocrinology 157(9):3493-504. doi: 10.1210/en.2016-1357.

Morgan SA, Hassan-Smith ZK and Lavery GG (2016). MECHANISMS IN ENDOCRINOLOGY: Tissue-specific activation of cortisol in Cushing's syndrome. Eur J Endocrinol. 175(2):R83-9. doi: 10.1530/EJE-15-1237. Review.

Morgan SA, Hassan-Smith ZK, Doig CL, Sherlock M, Stewart PM and Lavery GG (2016). Glucocorticoids and 11β-HSD1 are major regulators of intramyocellular protein metabolism. J Endocrinol 229(3):277-86. doi: 10.1530/JOE-16-0011.

Hassan-Smith ZK, Morgan SA, Sherlock M, Hughes B, Taylor AE, Lavery GG, Tomlinson JW and Stewart PM (2015). Gender-specific Differences in Skeletal Muscle 11β-HSD1 Expression Across Healthy Aging. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab.

Morgan SA, McCabe E, Gathercole LL, Hassan-Smith ZK, Larner DP, Bujalska I, Stewart PM, Tomlinson JW and Lavery GG (2014). 11β-HSD1 is the major regulator of the tissue-specific effects of circulating glucocorticoid excess. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111(24): E2482-2491.

Penno CA, Morgan SA, Rose AJ, Herzig S, Lavery GG and Odermatt A (2014). 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 is involved in bile acid homeostasis by modulating fatty acid transport protein-5 in the liver of mice. Mol Metab. 3(5): 554-564.

Tiganescu A, Tahrani AA, Morgan SA, Otranto M, Desmoulière A, Abrahams L, Hassan-Smith Z, Walker EA, Rabbitt EH, Cooper MS, Amrein K, Stewart PM and Lavery GG (2013). 11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase blockade prevents age-induced skin structure and function defects. J Clin Invest. 123(7):3051-60

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

Morgan SA, Sherlock M, Gathercole LL, Lavery GG, Lenaghan C, Bujalska IJ, Laber D, Yu A, Convey G, Mayers R, Hegyi K, Sethi JK, Stewart PM, Smith DM and Tomlinson JW (2009). 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 regulates glucocorticoid-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle. Diabetes 58(11):2506-15

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