Prof. Dame Frances Ashcroft

Professor, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford, UK

Dr. Frances Ashcroft is Professor of Physiology at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of Trinity College Oxford, and a Fellow of the Royal Society. She studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, and conducted post-doctoral research at the Universities of Leicester and California (Los Angeles). Her research focuses on how changes in blood glucose levels regulate insulin secretion from the pancreatic beta-cell and how this process is impaired in diabetes. She discovered that the ATP-sensitive potassium channel (KATP) serves as the molecular link between blood glucose elevation and insulin secretion. Mutations in KATP channel genes cause a rare inherited form of diabetes (neonatal diabetes), and her work with Professor Hattersley has enabled patients with this disorder to switch from insulin injections to drug therapy. Her current focus is on beta-cell metabolism and its impairment in type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Ashcroft has won several awards for her research, including the Jacob Henlé medal, the Croonian Lecture (Royal Society), the L'Oréal/UNESCO For Women in Science Award (European Laureate), the Albert Renold Prize (European Association for the Study of Diabetes), and the Lewis Thomas Prize for Science Writing. She has written two popular science books: Life at the Extremes (HarperCollins) and The Spark of Life (Penguin).

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