Prof Anne White BSc, PhD, FSB

Professor of Endocrine Sciences

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The human body responds to stress by producing a set of stress hormones (POMC, ACTH and glucocorticoids) which have multiple actions, but primarily increase factors which fuel our body to help it respond to stress. However, long term (chronic) stress is bad for us, and we believe this is because there are subtle changes in stress hormones, which increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. We are working on ways to measure these subtle changes in stress hormones in models of obesity and diabetes and in different groups of patients. Stress hormones can also affect the networks in the brain that regulate food intake and energy balance. We are studying how this goes wrong in obesity and diabetes. We are also investigating how undernourishment in pregnancy affects these networks in the baby’s brain so that they are more likely to become obese as adults. Some cancers can also secrete hormones. In small cell lung cancer, the precursor protein from which ACTH is produced, proopiomelanocortin (POMC), is expressed and released into the blood. We are developing techniques that utilise this secreted POMC in the monitoring of tumour progression and response to treatment.


Anne White is Professor of Endocrine Sciences within the School of Medical Sciences in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health where she was Associate Dean for Business Development and on the Faculty Management Team.  Anne became a Fellow of the Society of Biology in 2010.

Anne gained her PhD in Cell Biology at the University of Manchester in 1978 and has pursued a translational research career initially as a Lecturer in Clinical Biochemistry in 1989 and then as Senior Lecturer in 1991, Reader in 1995 and was appointed to a personal Chair in 1999. From 1994 to 1998, Anne was Head of the Division of Cells, Immunology and Development in the School of Biological Sciences.

In 2002, Anne became Head of Graduate Education, and subsequently Associate Dean for Graduate Education, in the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, with overall responsibility for more than 1000 graduate students. She was a member of the MRC Training and Career Development Board from 2002-2011 and has since Chaired several of the MRC panels for studentships.

Anne has pursued interests at the interface with cellular/molecular endocrinology and its direct translation to endocrine disorders. This has led to over 130 full publications, chapters and reviews. She has been invited to speak not only at international conferences, but also to clinical groups, and researchers in pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies. The majority of her published work has derived from Wellcome Trust, Research Council and NHS funding. In addition, she has research funding from collaboration with industrial partners to underpin programmes on therapeutic targets and develop diagnostic assays.

As part of a Royal Society Industry Fellowship, Anne worked with AstraZeneca from 1999-2002, extending her interests in prohormone processing to neuropeptides in food intake and obesity. Anne has had a number of roles in the Society for Endocrinology. In 2000 she was elected to a five year appointment on the Executive Board of the Council of the Society and became a Director of BioScientifica.  In 2010 Anne was appointed to the Council of the Society for Endocrinology.

Social responsibility

We participate in events with high school children where they come from all over the North West of England  to the University to learn more about science. This is a highly interactive format during which our group runs a “Diagnosing diabetes” workshop.

During the workshop the activities for the students include:

  • Measuring the levels of glucose and diagnosing subjects as to whether they may or may not have diabetes.
  • Chromatography to investigate glucose, insulin and free fatty acids
  • Food evaluation for calorie content
  • Quiz on diabetic complications

We also take part in the National Science and Engineering Week. Previously, we have created a stand to help teenagers demonstrate their understanding of what a balanced meal would be and we have tackled issues such as obesity and anorexia.

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • Chair MRC Doctoral Training Grants Panel 2009-2011
  • Chair MRC Capacity Building Studentships Panel 2008-2011
  • Panel member MRC Training & Careers Group 2010-2011
  • Society for Endocrinology
  • The Endocrine Society (USA)
  • British Society for Neuroendocrinology

Areas of expertise

Biology, Medicine and Health (BMH) Domains

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