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Suppressing insulin signaling to promote metabolic health

Neuroscience & Non-Communicable Diseases Seminar Series

Speaker: Dr Troy Merry, The University of Auckland


Hyperinsulinemia has traditionally been viewed primarily as a compensatory response aimed at overcoming insulin resistance in times of metabolic overload. However, there is building evidence to suggest that hyper-insulin signalling can play a causative role in the development of metabolic dysfunction. Consistent with this, it has been long recognised that in invertebrate model organisms, and some mouse models, that genetic suppression of insulin/IGF1 signalling can induce adaptative responses that extend lifespan. In this seminar I will present evidence that adult-induced genetic downregulation of the peripheral insulin receptor can attenuate diet-induced non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD), and aspects of this phenotype can be replicated by pharmacological targeting of the insulin signalling intermediate PI3K in obese mice. Finally, I will discuss our recent work investigating the impact of chronic pharmacological PI3K inhibition on the health and lifespan of aging mice.


Troy Merry is a Rutherford Discovery Fellow and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Nutrition, the University of Auckland. He gained a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Otago, and PhD from the University of Melbourne investigating how skeletal muscle regulates glucose transport during exercise. Following post-doctoral positions at Monash University and ETH Zurich investigating insulin signalling in metabolism and aging he return to New Zealand in 2016 to continue research into understanding molecular mechanisms of metabolic disease and how exercise improve metabolic health.

Enquiries: Lindsay Wu  

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Event Date: 
Friday, 1 October 2021 - 3:00pm
Online via Microsoft Teams
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