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Dr Hannah Welters

Dr Hannah Welters

Senior Lecturer


 01392 726361

 College House G09


College House, University of Exeter, St Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK


I am Senior Lecturer (Education and Scholarship) in the Medical School and teach on the Medical Science, Medical Imaging and Medicine courses. My subject areas are biochemistry, cell biology and physiology and I teach a wide range of topics in this field. I am passionate about communicating science to undergraduate students. I am experienced in delivering large group lectures, interactive workshops and facilitating small group sessions.

I provide support and training for other staff in roles such as tutoring, module delivery and assessment. I’m also trained as a mentor through the UEMS Mentoring Scheme and I am available to provide peer mentoring for staff.

In addition I am keen to provide support to students throughout their studies. I am the final year lead academic tutor for Medical Science and a progress support tutor for BMBS. Through these roles I engage with and provide support for individual students.

I am currently the academic lead for the Public Involvement in Medical Education group. This group of 10 lay people are involved in a wide range of activities throughout the Medical School. This ranges from helping teach students communication skills to advising on the development of new modules and programmes. The aim of the group is to ensure that the education provided by the Medical School meets the needs and expectations of society.

My PhD and research career focused on the cellular and molecular aspects of beta-cell dysfunction that occurs with diabetes and obesity. I am now studying part time for an MA in ‘Cultures and Environments of Health’ (University of Exeter). This is an interdisciplinary masters which studies how the health of individuals and communities are influenced by social structures, environments, and cultural contexts. Studying for this MA is enhancing my understanding of health and widening my perspectives from my background in biomedical health models. It is also expanding my research skills set to include qualitative research techniques. For example, in my dissertation I am looking at patients views on the new weight loss drug (Wegovy) using social media discussion forums as a data source. Once I have completed my MA I will be looking for ways to put these new skills to good use to help improve health and wellbeing for all.


  • 2003 - PhD in Endocrine pharmacology (Exeter University)
  • 2000 - BSc in Cellular and Molecular Biology (Bristol University)

Research group links


Research interests

My current research continues to be focussed on the pancreatic β-cell, looking specifically at how the β-cell is influenced by obesity and diabetes. The rise in diabetes incidence has been causally linked to increasing levels of obesity. However most (~80%) obese individuals do not have type 2 diabetes due to an expansion of the β-cell mass and a corresponding increase in insulin secretion levels. Type 2 diabetes only occurs when the β-cells fail to compensate for the increased insulin resistance. The β-cell function has been shown to start declining before diabetes onset with a correlating decrease in β-cell mass that continues to decline with diabetes duration. Obese patients with diabetes have a reduced β-cell mass compared to obese people without diabetes and this has been suggested to be due to increases in levels of β-cell apoptosis. The cause of the expansion of the β-cell mass with obesity and then the subsequent decline with diabetes on-set are as yet unclear.

My current research sets out to investigate this problem. One of the signalling pathways they are investigating is the Wnt signalling pathway. Recently the Wnt signalling pathway has been identified as being important for stimulating β-cell growth and involved in regulating insulin secretion. Variants in an important component of this pathway, the transcription factor TCF7L2, have been strongly linked to the onset of type 2 diabetes, due to defects in β-cell function. Adipocytes secrete Wnts, which have been shown to inhibit adipocyte differentiation but could also potentially influence β-cells. 



Journal articles

Welters HJ, Bowen A, Whatmore J, Kos K, Richardson S (2016). Wnt4 antagonises Wnt3a mediated increases in growth and glucose stimulated insulin secretion in the pancreatic beta-cell line, INS-1. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Harries LW, McCulloch LJ, Holley JE, Rawling TJ, Welters HJ, Kos K (2013). A role for SPARC in the moderation of human insulin secretion. PLoS One, 8(6). Abstract.  Author URL.
Welters HJ, El Ouaamari A, Kawamori D, Meyer J, Hu J, Smith DM, Kulkarni RN (2012). Rosiglitazone promotes PPARγ-dependent and -independent alterations in gene expression in mouse islets. Endocrinology, 153(10), 4593-4599. Abstract.  Author URL.
Kawamori D, Welters HJ, Kulkarni RN (2010). Molecular pathways underlying the pathogenesis of pancreatic alpha-cell dysfunction. Adv Exp Med Biol, 654, 421-445. Abstract.  Author URL.
Kaminski A, Welters HJ, Kaminski ER, Morgan NG (2009). Human and rodent pancreatic beta-cells express IL-4 receptors and IL-4 protects against beta-cell apoptosis by activation of the PI3K and JAK/STAT pathways. Biosci Rep, 30(3), 169-175. Abstract.  Author URL.
Diakogiannaki E, Welters HJ, Morgan NG (2008). Differential regulation of the endoplasmic reticulum stress response in pancreatic beta-cells exposed to long-chain saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. J Endocrinol, 197(3), 553-563. Abstract.  Author URL.
Dhayal S, Welters HJ, Morgan N (2008). Structural requirements for the cytoprotective actions of mono-unsaturated fatty acids in the pancreatic beta-cell line, BRIN-BD11. British Journal of Pharmacoloy, 153, 1718-1727.
Dhayal S, Welters HJ, Morgan NG (2008). Structural requirements for the cytoprotective actions of mono-unsaturated fatty acids in the pancreatic beta-cell line, BRIN-BD11. Br J Pharmacol, 153(8), 1718-1727. Abstract.  Author URL.
Morgan NG, Dhayal S, Diakogiannaki E, Welters HJ (2008). The cytoprotective actions of long-chain mono-unsaturated fatty acids in pancreatic beta-cells. Biochem Soc Trans, 36(Pt 5), 905-908. Abstract.  Author URL.
Welters HJ, oknianska A, Erdmann KS, Ryffel GU, Morgan NG (2008). The protein tyrosine phosphatase, PTP-BL, modulates pancreatic beta-cell proliferation by interaction with the Wnt signalling pathway. Journal of Endocrinolgy(197), 543-552.
Welters HJ, Kulkarni RN (2008). Wnt signaling: relevance to beta-cell biology and diabetes. Trends Endocrinol Metab, 19(10), 349-355. Abstract.  Author URL.
Newsholme P, Keane D, Welters HJ, Morgan NG (2007). Life and death decisions of the pancreatic beta-cell: the role of fatty acids. Clin Sci (Lond), 112(1), 27-42. Abstract.  Author URL.
Diakogiannaki E, Dhayal S, Childs CE, Calder PC, Welters HJ, Morgan NG (2007). Mechanisms involved in the cytotoxic and cytoprotective actions of saturated versus monounsaturated long-chain fatty acids in pancreatic beta-cells. J Endocrinol, 194(2), 283-291. Abstract.  Author URL.
Tarasov AI, Welters HJ, Senkel S, Ryffel GU, Hattersley AT, Morgan NG, Ashcroft FM (2006). A Kir6.2 mutation causing neonatal diabetes impairs electrical activity and insulin secretion from INS-1 beta-cells. Diabetes, 55(11), 3075-3082. Abstract.  Author URL.
Welters HJ, Senkel S, Klein-Hitpass L, Erdmann S, Thomas H, Harries LW, Pearson ER, Bingham C, Hattersley AT, Ryffel GU, et al (2006). Conditional expression of hepatocyte nuclear factor-1beta, the maturity-onset diabetes of the young-5 gene product, influences the viability and functional competence of pancreatic beta-cells. J Endocrinol, 190(1), 171-181. Abstract.  Author URL.
NMorgan, Diakogiannaki E, Mordue J, Welters H (2006). Differential protective effects of palmitoleic acid and cAMP on caspase activation and cell viability in pancreatic b-cells exposed to pamitate. APOPTOSIS, 11(7), 1231-1238.
Welters HJ, Diakogiannaki E, Mordue JM, Tadayyon M, Smith SA, Morgan NG (2006). Differential protective effects of palmitoleic acid and cAMP on caspase activation and cell viability in pancreatic beta-cells exposed to palmitate. Apoptosis, 11(7), 1231-1238. Abstract.  Author URL.
Welters HJ, Smith SA, Tadayyon M, Scarpello JHB, Morgan NG (2004). Evidence that protein kinase Cdelta is not required for palmitate-induced cytotoxicity in BRIN-BD11 beta-cells. J Mol Endocrinol, 32(1), 227-235. Abstract.  Author URL.
Welters HJ, McBain SC, Tadayyon M, Scarpello JHB, Smith SA, Morgan NG (2004). Expression and functional activity of PPARgamma in pancreatic beta cells. Br J Pharmacol, 142(7), 1162-1170. Abstract.  Author URL.
Welters HJ, Tadayyon M, Scarpello JHB, Smith SA, Morgan NG (2004). Mono-unsaturated fatty acids protect against beta-cell apoptosis induced by saturated fatty acids, serum withdrawal or cytokine exposure. FEBS Lett, 560(1-3), 103-108. Abstract.  Author URL.
Tadayyon M, Welters HJ, Haynes AC, Cluderay JE, Hervieu G (2000). Expression of melanin-concentrating hormone receptors in insulin-producing cells: MCH stimulates insulin release in RINm5F and CRI-G1 cell-lines. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 275(2), 709-712. Abstract.  Author URL.


Oknianska AR, Welters HJ, Morgan NG (2009). The protein tyrosine phosphatase, PTP-BL, interacts with the Wnt signalling pathway to regulate cell proliferation in INS-1 cells.  Author URL.
Oknianska AR, Welters HJ, Erdmann KS, Ryffel GU, Morgan NG (2008). The protein tyrosine phosphatase, PTP-BL, regulates pancreatic beta cell proliferation by interacting with components of the Writ signalling pathway.  Author URL.
Welters HJ, Oknianska A, Erdmann KS, Ryffel GU, Morgan NG (2008). The protein tyrosine phosphatase-BL, modulates pancreatic beta-cell proliferation by interaction with the Wnt signalling pathway.  Abstract.  Author URL.
Dhayal S, Diakogiannaki E, Welters HJ, Morgan NG (2007). Structural requirements for the cytoprotective effects of monounsaturated fatty acids in pancreatic beta cells.  Author URL.
Diakogiannaki E, Welters HJ, Morgan NG (2007). The mono-unsaturated fatty acid, palmitoleate, attenuates the expression of the ER stress-associated proteins, ATF4 and CHOP-10, in pancreatic beta cells exposed to palmitate or tunicamycin.  Author URL.
Welters HJ, Senkel S, Erdmann S, Thomas H, Morgan NG (2004). Functional effects of regulated expression of wild type and mutant hepatocyte nuclear factor-l beta (HNF1-beta) in pancreatic beta-cells.  Author URL.

Hannah_Welters Details from cache as at 2023-09-30 07:52:55

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Lead Roles:

Final Year Lead Academic tutor  

Module lead for Anatomy and Physiology - 1st year Medical Imaging module

Biomedical Science theme lead for BMBS Special Study Units 

Main teaching responsibilities:

Medical Imaging:

Delivery of lectures and workshops on the Anatomy and Physiology Module

Medical Science:

Academic tutor

Yr1 - Small group facilitation for Integrated human physiology

Literature Review Research Group facilitation 

Yr 2 - Principles of Medical Research small group facilitation 

Final Year - delivering content on the translational medical science module


Biomedical Science SSU provider

Drs as Teachers SSU facilitator 

SSU progress support tutor

Lecture provider

LSRC session provider





Supervision / Group

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