COLLEGE OF MEDICINE AND HEALTH
Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions

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Dr Ana Miguel Cruz

Dr Ana Miguel Cruz

Graduate Researcher

 01392408213

 RILD Building North Building, Room 4.03

 

University of Exeter Medical School, RILD Building, RD&E Hospital Wonford, Barrack Road, Exeter, EX2 5DW, UK

Overview

Ana Cruz moved from Portugal to the UK in 2010 to complete her degree in Biological Sciences (Biomolecular stream) at the University of Reading (2014). A keen interest in skeletal muscle physiology led her to pursue a research Masters degree in Biomedical Research (2014/15) which she undertook under the supervision of Dr. Keith Foster and during which she investigated pharmacological approaches to treat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The passion for understanding muscle physiology in disease grew and led Ana to seek a PhD at Exeter University under the supervision of Dr. Craig Beall and Dr. Benjamin Wall. Shortly before starting her PhD, Ana dipped her toes in another of her fields of interest, Neuroscience, by undertaking a short Postgraduate qualification in “Fundamental of Neuroscience” at the University of Minho. The combined interest in central and peripheral regulation of health and disease led Ana to complete her PhD at Exeter, which focused on investigating the signalling and molecular mechanisms that regulate whole energy metabolism and glucose homeostasis in diabetes.

The interest in energy metabolism and glucose homeostasis is ongoing as Ana continues to investigate how activation of energy sensors in the brain may help amplify the physiological response to hypoglycaemia as well as how glucose clearance into metabolically active tissues can be recovered in insulin resistant states. The outcomes of this research will hopefully contribute to the treatment of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, which is one of Ana’s major career goals.

Outside the lab (the few remaining hours) Ana enjoys exercising (lifting heavy weights or group circuits), cooking and crocheting, all of which can be followed by a social visit to the pub.  

Follow @AnaMiguelCruz on twitter for science updates and more

Qualifications

  • PhD Medical Studies
  • MRes Biomedical Research - Distinction
  • BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences – First Class

Links

Twitter: @AnaMiguelCruz

Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ana_Cruz14

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-9290-6752

Google scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=XDUduE8AAAAJ&view_op=list_works&gmla=AJsN-F5L4E_yeS8pQ-FB1qmyBqVP1BAUoozR5-HMwhl_ZBSQqUFtKzSYwZanaMI2ICSfCQ1PF15emYwlOpYM6SwiWb72K0loAjO89gj6cYgxKkBidkfisyU

Research

Research interests

Dr. Ana Cruz is primarily interested in understanding how the body regulates its energy needs and how this is altered in disease. Controlling energy substrates, such as blood sugar, remains a challenge for individuals with diabetes. Ana’s research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that control blood glucose, particularly the involvement of the brain and muscle in this regulation and how these can be therapeutically targeted to treat diabetes.

Ana is a member of the Beall lab, whose research interests focus on the integrated physiology of glucose homeostasis in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Lab members range from undergraduates to postdoctoral fellows and projects are currently focusing on regulation of pancreatic alpha cell function, brain-pancreas communication, neural regulation of hepatic glucose production and skeletal muscle anabolic signaling.


Techniques

  • Cannulation/Venipuncture
  • Glucose clamping
  • In vivo metabolic physiology
  • Western blotting
  • Live-cell imaging
  • Enzyme assays
  • Calcium imaging
  • Amino acid tracer technology

 

Research projects

  • Does an orally active brain permeable AMPK activator amplify the counterregulatory response to hypoglycaemia
  • Control of skeletal muscle glucose metabolism by the purinergic signaling system
  • Mechanisms underlying skeletal muscle insulin and anabolic resistance

Grants/Funding:

  • Nov 2019: The British Society for Neuroendocrinology travel grant
  • May 2019: The Physiological Society travel grant
  • Mar 2019: Diabetes UK Conference travel grant
  • Sep 2018–ongoing: Northcott Devon Medical Foundation- Characterising purinergic control of skeletal muscle mTOR pathway activity; Co-investigator
  • Mar 2018: Diabetes UK Conference travel grant

Publications

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Publications by category


Journal articles

Vlachaki Walker JM, Robb JL, Cruz AM, Malhi A, Weightman Potter PG, Ashford ML, McCrimmon RJ, Ellacott KL, Beall C (In Press). AMP-activated protein kinase activator A-769662 increases intracellular calcium and ATP release from astrocytes in an AMPK-independent manner. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Full text.
Cruz AM, Malekizadeh Y, Vlachaki Walker JM, Weightman Potter PG, Pye K, Shaw SJ, Ellacott KLJ, Beall C (In Press). Brain permeable AMPK activator R481 raises glycemia by autonomic nervous system activation and amplifies the counterregulatory response to hypoglycemia in rats.  Abstract.
Wall BT, Cruz AM, Otten B, Dunlop MV, Fulford J, Porter C, Abdelrahman DR, Stephens FB, Dirks ML (2020). The Impact of Disuse and High-Fat Overfeeding on Forearm Muscle Amino Acid Metabolism in Humans. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 105(7). Abstract.  Full text.
Dirks ML, Wall BT, Otten B, Cruz AM, Dunlop MV, Barker AR, Stephens FB (2019). High-fat Overfeeding Does Not Exacerbate Rapid Changes in Forearm Glucose and Fatty Acid Balance During Immobilization. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 105(1), 276-289. Abstract.  Full text.

Conferences

Cruz AM, Malekizadeh Y, Walker JMV, Shaw S, Ellacott KLJ, Beall C (2019). AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activator R481 improves the counterregulatory response to hypoglycaemia by amplifying glucagon release in healthy rats.  Author URL.
Cruz AML, Malekizadeh Y, Vlachaki Walker J, Ellacott K, Shaw S, Beall C (2019). Amplified Glucagon Response to Hypoglycemia following AMP-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) Activator R481 Treatment in Healthy Rats. American Diabetes Association. 7th - 11th Jun 2019. Abstract.
Potter PGW, Cruz JMV, Cruz AM, Williamson R, Randall A, Beall C (2017). Human astrocytes are altered following chronic glucose variation: differential regulation of cytokine release and increased basal metabolism.  Author URL.

Publications by year


In Press

Vlachaki Walker JM, Robb JL, Cruz AM, Malhi A, Weightman Potter PG, Ashford ML, McCrimmon RJ, Ellacott KL, Beall C (In Press). AMP-activated protein kinase activator A-769662 increases intracellular calcium and ATP release from astrocytes in an AMPK-independent manner. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Full text.
Cruz AM, Malekizadeh Y, Vlachaki Walker JM, Weightman Potter PG, Pye K, Shaw SJ, Ellacott KLJ, Beall C (In Press). Brain permeable AMPK activator R481 raises glycemia by autonomic nervous system activation and amplifies the counterregulatory response to hypoglycemia in rats.  Abstract.

2020

Wall BT, Cruz AM, Otten B, Dunlop MV, Fulford J, Porter C, Abdelrahman DR, Stephens FB, Dirks ML (2020). The Impact of Disuse and High-Fat Overfeeding on Forearm Muscle Amino Acid Metabolism in Humans. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 105(7). Abstract.  Full text.

2019

Cruz AM, Malekizadeh Y, Walker JMV, Shaw S, Ellacott KLJ, Beall C (2019). AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activator R481 improves the counterregulatory response to hypoglycaemia by amplifying glucagon release in healthy rats.  Author URL.
Cruz AML, Malekizadeh Y, Vlachaki Walker J, Ellacott K, Shaw S, Beall C (2019). Amplified Glucagon Response to Hypoglycemia following AMP-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) Activator R481 Treatment in Healthy Rats. American Diabetes Association. 7th - 11th Jun 2019. Abstract.
Dirks ML, Wall BT, Otten B, Cruz AM, Dunlop MV, Barker AR, Stephens FB (2019). High-fat Overfeeding Does Not Exacerbate Rapid Changes in Forearm Glucose and Fatty Acid Balance During Immobilization. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 105(1), 276-289. Abstract.  Full text.

2017

Potter PGW, Cruz JMV, Cruz AM, Williamson R, Randall A, Beall C (2017). Human astrocytes are altered following chronic glucose variation: differential regulation of cytokine release and increased basal metabolism.  Author URL.

Ana_MiguelCruz Details from cache as at 2020-06-04 08:13:59

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External Engagement and Impact

Awards

  • July 2019: Above and Beyond award for Ambition: University of Exeter
  • May 2016: University of Exeter, Postgraduate Annual research event, 1st Prize oral presentation
  • 2014: Society for Endocrinology Undergraduate Achievement Award

Conferences and invited presentations

  • Cruz, A.M., Malekizadeh, Y.M-Vlachaki Walker, J.M., Weightman Potter, P., Pye, K., Shaw., S., Ellacott., K.L.J., Beall., C. Metformin-like brain permeable AMPK activator R481 activates the autonomic nervous system to raise glycaemia without altering insulin sensitivity. Oral and poster presentation. Neuroscience of Energy Balance, Manchester, 2019
  • Cruz, A.M., Malekizadeh, Y.M-Vlachaki Walker., J.M., Shaw., S., Ellacott., K.L.J., Beall., C. Amplified glucagon response to hypoglycaemia following AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activator R481 treatments in healthy rats. Oral presentation. American Diabetes Association, San Francisco, 2019
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  • Cruz, A.M., Malekizadeh, Y.M-Vlachaki Walker, J.M., Shaw., S., Ellacott., K.L.J., Beall., C. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activator R481 improves the counter-regulatory response to hypoglycaemia by amplifying glucagon release in healthy rats. Poster presenting author, Diabetes UK Professional Conference, Liverpool, 2019
  • Weightman Potter., P.G., Vlachaki Walker., J.M., Cruz., A.M., Williamson., R., Randall, A., Beall., C. – Human Primary Astrocyte (HPA) Metabolism is Altered Following Exposure to Recurrent Hypoglycaemia In Vitro – contributing author oral and poster presentation - American Diabetes Association, San Diego, 2017
  • Weightman Potter., P.G., Vlachaki Walker., J.M., Cruz., A.M., Williamson., R., Randall, A., Beall., C. – Human astrocytes are altered following chronic glucose variation: Differential regulation of cytokine release and increased basal metabolism – contributing author poster presentation - Diabetes UK Professional Conference, Manchester, 2017

 

Presentations/Public engagement

  • 10th March 2020: “I’m a Neuroscientist: Ask me anything” Brain awareness week, Exeter, invited speaker
  • 30th July 2019: Exeter, Neuroscience Seminar series: Central regulation of glucose homeostasis by AMPK manipulation, invited speaker.
  • 12th May 2017: Pint of Science, Exeter, Diet and inactivity on muscle function, invited speaker
  • 6th Apr 2017: South Devon Diabetes UK patient group; Diet and inactivity on muscle function, invited speaker
  • 16th Nov 2016: University of Exeter, IBCS seminar series; Fatty acid induced muscle anabolic resistance, invited speaker

Teaching

Supervision / Group

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