Dr James Brown

archa researcher James Brown

Lecturer in School of Life and Health Sciences & ARCHA

ARCHA Clinical/Community Engagement Lead


Contact Details:

Email: j.e.p.brown@aston.ac.uk Telephone: 01212045039 Twitter: @JEPBResearch

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JamesBrownResearchGroup  Website: www.jamesbrownresearch.org.uk

Career History

  • 2013 - present: Lecturer. ARCHA and School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University
  • 2009 - 2013: Research Fellow, ARCHA, Aston University
  • 2008 - 2009: Wellcome Trust VIP Research Fellow, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick
  • 2005 - 2008: Research Fellow, RIHS, University of Wolverhampton
  • 1999 - 2005: PhD (Biomed), RIHS, University of Wolverhampton

Author of 'From Bird Ponds to Monsters: A History of Diabetes' http://amzn.to/TAEI5m

Current Research Interests

Regulation of cellular ageing by obesity and metabolic disorders


Intra abdominal adipose tissue (IAAT) is associated with significant co-morbidities of the ageing population including diabetes, CVD and cancer. Obesity has previously been shown to reduce lifespan by approximately ten years and to enhance the ageing process. Of the adipose tissue that we store, the IAAT is more commonly associated with these co-morbidities. IAAT is accrued during the process of ageing, and when individuals reach approximately the age of 60, the ratio of IAAT to subcutaneous adipose tissue (SCAT) increases, predisposing elderly individuals to the disease states mentioned earlier, with a significantly higher predisposition amongst south Asians than Caucasians. Little is known as to why this happens, or as to the mechanisms by which IAAT increases the ageing process. As the proportion of the population over pensionable age is projected to significantly increase in the future, it is essential that a better understanding of this phenomenon is gained so that targets for therapeutic/lifestyle intervention can be identified. To achieve these objectives, a cohort of healthy volunteers and type 2 diabetic/obese subjects is being recruited from clinics at Heartlands hospital in Birmingham. This cohort will also include individuals of varying age. Subjects will have their body fat analysed using an electronic body composition analyser, and a sample of blood will be taken. From this blood serum, RNA and DNA will be collected so that markers of cellular ageing including telomere length be assayed (as a measure of cellular ageing). Analysis of these markers will allow a detailed analysis of the relationship between IAAT and cellular ageing.

Frailty in older adults with diabetes

Functional decline associated with the ageing process and the onset of frailty is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the UK. Estimates suggest that as many as 8.5% of women and 4.5% of men known as ‘young-old’ (65-74) in the UK can be classified as being frail. Diabetes and frailty may be causally related and operate through each of the key components of the frailty phenotype or via associated medical co-morbidities. The presence of frailty in a setting of diabetes increases the level of disability and leads to poorer clinical outcomes.

Role of aquaporins in breast cancer


Aquaporins (AQPs) are a family of membrane proteins that act as channels for water transport. A sub-set of these channels, the aquaglyceroporins (AQgPs), can transport other small molecules including glycerol. This AQgP role in glycerol transport across the cell membrane is not yet clearly understood. Initial research into AQgPs has shown that some are expressed in metabolic tissues, as well as some cancerous tissues. Our current study is fully investigating the role of all AQgPs in breast cancewr cell viability, mobility and invasiveness.


Research Funding

  • 2012 - PhD studentship funded by Iraqi Ministry for Higher Education
  • 2012 - £10,000 Eveson Trust equipment grant
  • 2010 - £10,000 Diabetes Uk Small Grant
  • 2010 - £10,000 Society for Endocrinology Early Career Award
  • 2008 - Wellcome Trust VIP Research Fellowship (~£50,000)

Awards & Fellowships

I currently hold Honorary Research Fellowships at Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick and Heart of England Foundation NHS Trust Birmingham. I am also a Visiting Lecturer at the Institute of Diabetes for Older People, Bedfordshire University.

I was awarded the 2005 Eli Lilly Prize for Basic Science, Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conferenceand in 2012 was part of the team awarded Best Scientific Poster by the British Microcirculation Society.



  • Rana KS, Arif M, Hill EJ, Aldred S, Nagel DA, Nevill A, Randeva HS, Bailey CJ, Bellary S and Brown JE, Plasma irisin levels predict telomere length in healthy adults, Age, Article in press.
  • Brown JE. Can restricting calories help you to live longer?. Post Reproductive Health. 2014 Mar 1;20(1):16-18. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1754045314521553

  • Torrão RC, Bennett SJ, Brown JE, Griffiths HR. DOES METABOLIC REPROGRAMMING UNDERPIN AGE-ASSOCIATED CHANGES IN T CELL PHENOTYPE AND FUNCTION?. Free radical biology and medicine. 2014;(0). Available from: http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2014.03.002


  • Brown JE, Mosley MJ, Aldred S. Intermittent fasting: a dietary intervention for prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease?. British journal of diabetes and vascular disease. 2013 Mar;13(2):68-72.

  • Morrison F, Locke J, Arif M, Murray A, Brown JE, Harries LW. Expression profiling of type 2 diabetes susceptibility genes in the pancreatic islets, adipose tissue and liver of obese mice. Experimental and clinical endocrinology and diabetes . 2013 Jul 9;121(7):413-419.

  • Dias IHK, Chapple ILC, Milward M, Grant MM, Hill E, Brown J et al. Sulforaphane restores cellular glutathione levels and reduces chronic periodontitis neutrophil hyperactivity in vitro. PLoS ONE. 2013 Jun 24;8(6). e66407.


  • Conner MT, Conner AC, Bland CE, Taylor LHJ, Brown J, Parri HR et al. Rapid aquaporin translocation regulates cellular water flow: the mechanism of hypotonicity-induced sub-cellular localization of the aquaporin 1 water channel. Journal of biological chemistry. 2012 Mar 30;287:11516-11525.

  • Baggott RR, Mohamed TMA, Oceandy D, Holton M, Blanc MC, Roux-Soro SC et al. Disruption of the interaction between PMCA2 and calcineurin triggers apoptosis and enhances paclitaxel-induced cytotoxicity in breast cancer cells. Carcinogenesis . 2012.

  • Dunmore SJ, Brown JE. The Role of Adipokines in Beta-Cell Failure of Type 2 Diabetes. Journal of endocrinology . 2012. September 21. Epub ahead of print.

  • Brown JE. The ageing pancreas. British journal of diabetes and vascular disease. 2012 May 1;12(3):141-145.


  • Conner MT, Conner AC, Brown J, Bill RM. Membrane trafficking of aquaporin 1 is mediated by protein kinase C via microtubules and regulated by tonicity. Biochemistry. 2010;49(5):821-823.


  • Ramanjaneya M, Chen JC, Brown JE, Tripathi G, Hallschmid M, Patel S, Kern W, Hillhouse E, Lehnert H, Tan B and Randeva HS, 2010, Identification of Nesfatin-1 in Human and Murine Adipose Tissue: A Novel Depot-Specific Adipokine with Increased Levels in Obesity, Endocrinology, DOI 10.1210/en.20091358

  • Brown JE, Digby JE, Conner AC, Ward KL, Ramanjaneya M, Randeva HS and Dunmore SJ, Regulation of beta-cell viability and gene expression by distinct agonist fragments of adiponectin, Peptides. Epub ahead of print

  • Conner M, Conner A, Brown JE and Bill R, 2010, Trafficking of Aquaporin 1 Is Mediated by Protein Kinase C via Microtubules and Regulated by Tonicity, Biochemistry, article in press.

  • Dibra HK, Brown JE, Hooley P and Nicholl ID, 2010, Aspirin and alterations in DNA repair proteins in the SW480 colorectal cancer cell line, Oncology Reports, DOI 10.3892


  • Brown JE, Onyango DJ, Ramanjaneya M, Conner AC, Patel ST, Dunmore SJ and Randeva HS, Visfatin regulates insulin secretion, insulin receptor signalling and mRNA expression of diabetes related genes in mouse pancreatic beta-cells, Journal of Molecular Endocrinology, October  2009, DOI: 10.1677/JME-09-0071

  • Harries L, Brown JE and Gloyn, A, 2009, Species-specific differences in the expression profile of the HNF1 homeobox A (HNF1A), HNF1 homeobox B (HNF1B) and hepatocyte nuclear factor -4 alpha (HNF4A) genes, PLoS ONE, Article In Press

  • Gu X, Xu B, Pandey S, Goessl E, Brown J, Armesilla AL, Darling JL and Wang W, 2009, Disulfiram/copper complex inhibiting NFκB activity and potentiating cytotoxic effect of gemcitabine on colon and breast cancer cell lines, Cancer Letters, doi:10.1016/j.canlet.2009.09.002

  • Patel ST, Mistry T, Brown JE,  Digby JE, Adya R, Desai KM and Randeva HS, 2009, A Novel Role for the Adipokine Visfatin/Pre-B Cell Colony-enhancing Factor 1 (PBEF) in Prostate Carcinogenesis, Peptides, DOI10.1006/peptides.2009.10.001

  • Ramanjaneya M, Conner AC, Chen J, Kumar P, Brown JE, Joehren O, Lehnert H, Stanfield P and Randeva HS, 2009, Orexin-stimulated MAP Kinase cascades are activated through multiple G-protein signalling pathways in human H295R adrenocortical cells; diverse roles for orexin A and B, Journal of Endocrinology, 202; 249-261

  • Tan BK, Chen JC, Brown JE, Adya R, Ramanjaneya M, Menon V, Bailey CJ, Lehnert H and Randeva HS, 2009, In Vivo and Ex Vivo Regulation of Visfatin Production by Leptin in Human and Murine Adipose Tissue: Role of MAPK and PI3-K Signalling Pathways, Endocrinology, DOI  10.1210/en.2008-1655


  • Brown JE and Dunmore SJ, 2007, Leptin decreases apoptosis and alters BCL-2 : Bax ratio in clonal rodent pancreatic beta-cells, Diabetes Metab Res Rev, 23(6); 497-502

  • Brown JE, Onyango DJ and Dunmore SD, 2007, Resistin reduces insulin receptor expression and modulates cell viability in rodent pancreatic beta-cells, FEBS Lett, 581(17); 3273-6

  • Brown JE, et al, 2002, Glucose induces and leptin decreases expression of uncoupling protein-2 mRNA in human islets, FEBS Lett, 27;513(2-3):189-92

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