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University of Exeter Medical School

 Jessica Hopkinson   (nee Chaffey )

Jessica Hopkinson (nee Chaffey )

Postdoctoral Research Associate

 RILD Building Level 4


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


Jessica obtained a BSc (Hons) in Human Biosciences from the University of Plymouth in 2016. During the summer between years 2 and 3 of her undergraduate degree, she did a self-sought summer work placement with Dr Mark Russell at the University of Exeter. Jessica then returned to the IBEx group where she completed her PhD (2020) investigating the role of a viral infection as a potential trigger of Type 1 Diabetes, and the signalling pathways involved.

During her PhD, Jessica developed a keen interest in understanding molecular mechanisms of disease and signalling pathways involved.

Since obtaining her PhD, Jessica has worked as a part-time Research Technician, where she worked with all groups studying Diabetes, alongside pursuing her own research interests as a part-time Postdoctoral Research Associate where she continued to research the signalling pathways involved in Type 1 Diabetes pathogenesis.

Jessica now works as a full time Postdoctoral Research Associate, but is working part-time split between two research projects, one is focussed as previously on the signalling pathways involved in Type 1 Diabetes, and the other project is focussed on understanding the molecular mechanisms behind the genetic causes of hyperinsulinism.

Jessica is also an advocate for improving the sustainability of research, and is working alongside fellow LEAF ambassadors to try to reduce the impact laboratory research has on the environment.  

Outside of research, Jessica enjoys camping and walking on the local moors with her dog or helping out on the family farm.


  • PhD Doctorate in Medical Sciences, University of Exeter (2020)
  • BSc (Hons) Human biosciences, Plymouth University (2016)


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Research interests

Jessica’s current research is focussed on two topics; Type 1 Diabetes and Hyperinsulinism.

Her Type 1 Diabetes research is focussed on understanding the role of intracellular signalling pathways and the molecules involved in the pathogenesis of Type 1 Diabetes. In particular, she is focussed on understating the role of JAK/STAT signalling.

Jessica has recently joined the Genetic Hyperinsulilnism team (June 2022). Her hyperinsulinism research is focussed on understanding the molecular mechanisms of genetic causes of hyperinsulinism. In particular, the role of the recently described non-coding mutations found in the beta-cell “disallowed gene”, Hexokinase1 (HK1).  

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Journal articles

Wakeling M, Owens NDL, Hopkinson JR, Johnson MB, Houghton JAL, Dastamani A, Flaxman CS, Wyatt RC, Hewat TI, Hopkins JJ, et al (In Press). A novel disease mechanism leading to the expression of a disallowed gene in the pancreatic beta-cell identified by non-coding, regulatory mutations controlling HK1. Nature Genetics Abstract.
Boldison J, Hopkinson JR, Davies J, Pearson JA, Leete P, Richardson S, Morgan NG, Wong FS (2023). Gene expression profiling in NOD mice reveals that B cells are highly educated by the pancreatic environment during autoimmune diabetes. Diabetologia, 66(3), 551-566. Abstract.
Chaffey JR, Young J, Leslie KA, Partridge K, Akhbari P, Dhayal S, Hill JL, Wedgwood KCA, Burnett E, Russell MA, et al (2021). Investigation of the utility of the 1.1B4 cell as a model human beta cell line for study of persistent enteroviral infection. Sci Rep, 11(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Colli ML, Hill JLE, Marroquí L, Chaffey J, Dos Santos RS, Leete P, Coomans de Brachène A, Paula FMM, Op de Beeck A, Castela A, et al (2018). PDL1 is expressed in the islets of people with type 1 diabetes and is up-regulated by interferons-α and-γ via IRF1 induction. EBioMedicine, 36, 367-375. Abstract.  Author URL.


Chaffey JR, Russell MA, Richardson SJ, Morgan NG (2020). The protein phosphatase inhibitor, PPP1R1A, regulates proliferation in pancreatic beta cells.  Author URL.
Chaffey JR, Russell MA, Richardson SJ, Morgan NG (2019). The protein phosphatase inhibitor, PPP1R1A, is differentially expressed in the islets of individuals with Type 1 diabetes, dependent on duration of disease and age at diagnosis.  Author URL.
Chaffey JR, Russell M, Richardson S, Morgan N (2018). Virally-induced interferon-response proteins are upregulated dramatically in the islets of individuals with recent-onset Type 1 diabetes.  Author URL.

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