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University of Exeter Medical School

Dr. Paul Weightman Potter

Dr. Paul Weightman Potter


 Medical School Building F08.C


Medical School Building, St Luke's Campus, Magdalen Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK


Dr Paul Weightman Potter completed his degree in Biology with a Professional Placement year (BSc Hons; University of Bath) in 2015. He then begun his career at the University of Exeter as a PhD student under the supervision of Dr Craig Beall. His doctoral studies focused on how human astrocytes adapt their metabolism to repeated low glucose exposure; mimicking repeated hypoglycaemia experienced by people with Type 1 Diabetes.

Paul continued his work as a postdoctoral research associate in Dr Craig Beall’s lab before being awarded a prestigious JDRF Research Fellowship. During this time he developed a range of skills for investigating brain cell metabolism and inflammatory functions which furthered our understanding of the alternative fuel hypothesis in glial cells.

As of July 2023 Paul has his own lab which more broadly explores brain energetics in health and disease. This includes collaborations with the Exeter Head Impacts, Brain Injury and Trauma (ExHIBIT) group; investigating the immunometabolic state of the brain following injury. Paul is continuing his diabetes research into glial-control of glucose sensing too.


  • PhD in Neuroscience, University of Exeter, 2015-2019
  • BSc(Hons) First Class, Biology with Professional Placement year, University of Bath

Research group links

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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
Weightman Potter P, Vlachaki Walker J, Robb J, Chilton J, Williamson R, Randall A, Ellacott K, Beall C (In Press). Basal fatty acid oxidation increases after recurrent low glucose in human primary astrocytes. Diabetologia
Firth W, Pye KR, Weightman Potter PG (2024). Astrocytes at the intersection of ageing, obesity, and neurodegeneration. Clin Sci (Lond), 138(8), 515-536. Abstract.  Author URL.
Weightman Potter PG, Ellacott KLJ, Randall AD, Beall C (2022). Glutamate Prevents Altered Mitochondrial Function Following Recurrent Low Glucose in Hypothalamic but Not Cortical Primary Rat Astrocytes. Cells, 11(21), 3422-3422. Abstract.
Weightman Potter PG, Washer SJ, Jeffries AR, Holley JE, Gutowski NJ, Dempster EL, Beall C (2021). Attenuated Induction of the Unfolded Protein Response in Adult Human Primary Astrocytes in Response to Recurrent Low Glucose. FRONTIERS IN ENDOCRINOLOGY, 12  Author URL.
Cruz AM, Partridge KM, Malekizadeh Y, Vlachaki Walker JM, Weightman Potter PG, Pye KR, Shaw SJ, Ellacott KLJ, Beall C (2021). Brain Permeable AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Activator R481 Raises Glycaemia by Autonomic Nervous System Activation and Amplifies the Counterregulatory Response to Hypoglycaemia in Rats. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 12 Abstract.
Potter PGW, Washer S, Jeffries AR, Holley JE, Gutowski NJ, Dempster E, Beall C (2020). Analysis of the transcriptome and DNA methylome in response to acute and recurrent low glucose in human primary astrocytes. Abstract.
Robb JL, Morrissey NA, Weightman Potter PG, Smithers HE, Beall C, Ellacott KLJ (2020). Immunometabolic Changes in Glia – a Potential Role in the Pathophysiology of Obesity and Diabetes. Neuroscience, 447, 167-181.
Robb JL, Hammad NA, Weightman Potter PG, Chilton JK, Beall C, Ellacott KLJ (2020). The metabolic response to inflammation in astrocytes is regulated by nuclear factor‐kappa B signaling. Glia, 68(11), 2246-2263. Abstract.
Weightman Potter PG, Walker JMV, Robb JL, Chilton JK, Williamson R, Randall A, Ellacott KLJ, Beall C (2018). Human primary astrocytes increase basal fatty acid oxidation following recurrent low glucose to maintain intracellular nucleotide levels. Abstract.
(2017). Basic and clinical science posters: brain function. Diabetic Medicine, 34(S1), 48-49.

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