Steroid Biosynthesis and Metabolism
Steroid hormones play a vital role in the regulation of metabolism, inflammation, immune function, salt and water balance, stress management, and reproduction in all mammals. Our research focuses on the production of steroid hormones by steroidogenic tissue, the down-stream metabolism of these hormones in peripheral tissue and the role that this metabolism plays in health and disease. We are particularly interested in the previously overlooked 11-oxygenated androgens which us and others have shown to play a role in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia and Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer.
Steroid receptors and gene expression
The research in our laboratory is focused on understanding the fundamental mechanisms of those steroid receptors that contribute to the development and progression of inflammation and breast cancer. Considering that different steroid receptors can be expressed in breast cancer tumours, and that emerging evidence shows a clinically relevant interplay between some receptors, we are investigating the consequences of having different levels and combinations of steroid receptors present. Moreover, we have a specific interest in how compounds such as progestins used in contraception and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may influence these mechanisms. We explore these using molecular approaches, with the aim of aiding in the development of new therapeutic strategies to effectively prevent or treat breast cancer.
Our main research focus is on the role glucocorticoids via the glucocorticoid receptor and inflammation have on insulin signalling.