Grahame Hardie is a biochemist who was the first to define and name the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) system during research at the University of Dundee in the 1980s - it has remained his major focus ever since. AMPK is a signalling protein that monitors the energy and nutrient status of living cells, and is switched on when cellular energy levels fall or when cells are deprived of nutrients such as glucose. It then acts to restore energy and/or nutrient balance. This is such an important function that AMPK plays key roles in many human diseases, including obesity, diabetes, cancer, and inflammatory and infectious diseases. Some existing drugs (such as metformin, used to treat Type 2 diabetes) act in part by activating the AMPK system, while several new drugs targetted at the AMPK system have been developed over recent years.
Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Academy of Medical Sciences