Professor Graham Rena

Professor (Teaching and Research)

Cellular Medicine, School of Medicine

Graham Rena
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+44 (0)1382 383546


Dr Graham Rena's undergraduate BSc studies were at University of Bristol, followed by Ph.D. studies with Professor Miles Houslay FRSE at the University of Glasgow and postdoctoral work with Professor Sir Philip Cohen FRS, FRSE at the University of Dundee. Graham was a Caledonian Research Foundation Fellow between 2004 and 2007 before staying on to take up a permanent lectureship at the University of Dundee. Graham has been a contributing author on over 30 peer-reviewed publications. The key area of current research is drug repurposing, particularly including recent key insights into metformin action. Graham’s research has attracted grant funding from MRC, BHF Diabetes UK as well as other major funders. Graham enjoys teaching, particularly including innovative international teaching activities in Kuwait.


Repurposing metformin, studies from cells to patients

A major recent focus has been metformin, which is the gold-standard treatment of insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes. Collaborative work particularly with Prof Chim Lang has included investigation of anti-inflammatory effects of the drug, which are likely to contribute towards cardioprotective effects in patients, irrespective of diabetes status. This insight provides an easily understood rationale for further testing of non-diabetic cardiovascular patient groups that may benefit from metformin and has been published in high impact journals (Circulation and Circulation Research)

Lectures and conferences

2018 European Heart Failure Association annual meeting Vienna

2017 “Metformin: heart failure drug?” Translational Research Workshop, Brussels, Belgium

2017 12th Annual Winter Research Meeting of the Heart Failure Association and Working Group on Myocardial Function of the European Society of Cardiology, Les Diablerets, Switzerland

2016 Danish Technical University, Lyngby, Denmark


PRIZE: Best Manuscript Award at Circulation Research editorial board dinner in New Orleans, November 2016.


MSc Dissertation Lead, Quantitative (Kuwait, Dasman Diabetes Institute)

The MSc makes use of modern approaches, including for example a recently generated virtual poster room (see separate picture) 

Life Sciences Teaching: Regulatory Physiology and Pharmacology

Medical School Teaching: BMSc Diabetes and Metabolic Disor

View full research profile and publications

Media availability

I am available for media commentary on my research.

Contact Corporate Communications for media enquiries.

Areas of expertise

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease

PhD Projects

Principal supervisor