Noel Morgan’s research team has undertaken extensive studies of the aetiopathology of type 1 diabetes using several collections of human pancreas. They have also conducted extensive studies of the signaling pathways regulating islet responses to nutrients, hormones and immune regulators. During their studies, the team has exploited the world’s largest biobank of pancreas samples recovered at autopsy from patients newly diagnosed with the disease (Exeter Archival Diabetes Biobank) to study the aetiology of type 1 diabetes. They have used these to monitor factors such as insulitis profiles, insulin processing, markers of enteroviral infection, interferon responses and HLA protein expression in type 1 diabetes. Informed by their analysis of the human pancreas in health and disease, the team has conducted novel studies of the signalling mechanisms regulating pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory processes in beta-cells in type 1 diabetes. This work has culminated in the definition of two distinct type 1 diabetes endotypes at the level of the pancreas, which are differentiated according to age at diagnosis.
Noel Morgan began his career at University of Leicester and then undertook postdoctoral work at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tn, USA). He developed an independent research programme in islet biology while on the faculty of Keele University and was awarded an Albert E. Renold Fellowship by EASD to study adrenoceptor signalling in b-cells at Duke University, NC. He was appointed to a personal chair at Keele University and subsequently moved to University of Exeter, Devon, UK in 2002, as Professor of Endocrine Pharmacology. In 2017, he was awarded the Dorothy Hodgkin Lectureship by Diabetes UK in recognition of his contributions to the field.