Professor Stephanie Amiel
RD Lawrence Professor of Diabetic Medicine
Head of Diabetes & Nutritional Sciences Division
King’s College London
3rd floor Weston Education Centre
Denmark Hill Campus
10 Cutcombe Road
London SE5 9RJ
Tel: +44 20 7848 5645
PA Mrs Sophia Coker
Tel : +44 20 7848 5639
Professor Amiel gained her training in medicine and surgery at Guy’s Hospital School of Medicine, London, in the late 1970s and started her research career with a three year fellowship at Yale. She subsequently spent several years at Guy’s Hospital before taking up her role at King’s College, where she has particular responsibility for intensive insulin therapy, insulin pump services and diabetic pregnancy services.
Her academic and research interests have earned her global recognition; these include: hypoglycemia in diabetes, metabolic neuroimaging, brain insulin sensitivity/resistance, and central responses to eating. Professor Amiel is chair of the National Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating (DAFNE) Executive Committee and has served on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation UK Medical Advisory Committee for ten years; she has added her expertise to several editorial boards including a spell as Editor of Diabetic Medicine, and has been awarded a number of honors including, most recently, the Hellmut Mehnert Award at the International Diabetes Federation World Congress in 2009.
Central control of metabolism
Prof Amiel has an international reputation in the investigation and management of hypoglycaemia in Type 1 diabetes. Her work on the aetiopathogenesis of hypoglycaemia unawareness is currently focussed on pharmacological manipulation of cognitive function and counterregulation to hypoglycaemia in diabetes; investigation of new technologies in hypoglycaemia avoidance during insulin therapy and the use of neuroimaging to investigate abnormalities in cortical function and counterregulation to hypoglycaemia.
The latter involves close collaboration with the Clinical PET Centre on the St Thomas’ site (Dr paul Marsden and Dr Mike O’Doherty) and with the neuroimaging department of the 5* rated Institute of Psychiatry, under Prof Stephen Williams. The techniques developed to investigate regional brain activation and metabolism in hypoglycaemia are now being applied to the wider issues of brain metabolism and function (including glucose sensing) in other disease states, most importantly, in insulin resistance syndromes including impaired glucose tolerance, obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Current studies on going in the group include:
Investigations into insulin sensitivity in brain glucose metabolism in insulin resistance syndromes (currently using positron emission tomography)
Investigations into regional brain activation by nutrient ingestion and by hypoglycaemia in insulin resistant states and in diabetes (currently using functional magnetic resonance imaging)
Investigations into the potential for enhancing glucose counterregulation and/or supporting cortical function in hypoglycaemia by pharmacological means (using insulin clamp techniques and cognitive function tests)
Investigations of the use of new monitoring devices in hypoglyaemia avoidance
With the NHS Clinical service, there are research interests in diabetic pregnancy; intensified insulin therapy (including insulin pump therapy); diabetic complications, especially diabetic foot disease and neuropathy and patient education for diabetes self-management (including DAFNE).
Islet transplantation and cell therapy in diabetes
Working with colleagues in Liver transplantation, Prof Amiel, with Drs Huang and Zhao, provide a human islet isolation facility to support an active clinical islet transplant programme for patients with Type 1 diabetes and intractable hypoglycaemia. The programme is also active in research with current projects including:
Development of islet surrogates from stem cells
Development of islet cells from exocrine pancreas
Mental health in diabetes
A collaboration between the NHS Foundation Trust of KCH, the IoP and the Diabetes Research Group, led by Dr Khalida Ismail, is developing a programme of research around the impact of diabetes on mental health and quality of life and the potential for improving diabetes outcomes through improved mental health.
Current projects include:
Prospective investigations into the impact of depression and other psychosocial factors on diabetes control in newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular risk
Trials of motivational enhancement and cognitive behavioural therapies in diabetes management and the progression of complications
Quality of life and mental health in diabetes interventions, including islet transplantation and insulin pump therapy
Cortical factors in metabolic pathologies such as hypoglycaemia unawareness and insulin resistance syndromes