Insulin receptor signalling in metabolic disease and aging Event as iCalendar


15 August 2017

4 - 5pm

Venue: Ground floor seminar room (G10)

Location: 70 Symonds St, Auckland Central

Dr Troy Merry

 A Bioengineering seminar by Dr Troy Merry, School of Medical Sciences, University of Auckland


Current society is faced with an ageing population that has high incidence of metabolic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. This is placing major pressure on our healthcare resources and reducing individual’s quality of life. Studies in model organisms, such as worms and flies, show that impairing insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1 signalling can extend lifespan, and hyper-insulinemia associated with excess energy intake may contribute to the development of metabolic diseases. We investigated how reducing insulin levels or insulin receptor expression in adult mice effects lifespan and susceptibility to diet induced metabolic disease. In conflict with findings in invertebrates our results suggest that the impairment of insulin signalling limited to peripheral tissues of adult mice fails to extend lifespane. However, reduced insulin signalling during conditions of metabolic overload may protect from the development of fatty liver disease. These findings suggest that treatments that enhance liver insulin signalling may promote the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Furthermore, the lifespan extending effect of impaired insulin signalling in mammals may require reduced central nervous system insulin signalling or the impairment of insulin signalling during development, potentially limiting the effectiveness of this strategy to extend health-span of those who are already aged.

About the Speaker

Dr Troy Merry obtained a Bachelor of physical education from the University of Otago, and a PhD in exercise metabolism from the University of Melbourne in 2010. He then conducted postdoctoral research in metabolic disease and aging at Monash University (Australia) and the ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

He returned to NZ from Switzerland in early 2016 on a Rutherford Discovery Research Fellowship, and his current position is Senior Lecturer in the discipline of Nutrition, School of Medical and Health Sciences, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.

His research to date has largely focused on understanding the signalling role of reactive oxygen species in metabolic disease and initiating adaptations that promote healthy aging and exercise-induced improvements in health.