Dr Ana Miguel Cruz
RILD Building North Building, Room 4.03
University of Exeter Medical School, RILD Building, RD&E Hospital Wonford, Barrack Road, Exeter, EX2 5DW, UK
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
- PhD Medical Studies
- MRes Biomedical Research - Distinction
- BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences – First Class
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
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.
- Glucose clamping
- In vivo metabolic physiology
- Western blotting
- Live-cell imaging
- Enzyme assays
- Calcium imaging
- Amino acid tracer technology
- 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
- 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 by category
Publications by year
External Engagement and Impact
- 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
- 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
- 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