Watt laboratory: Metabolism and Diabetes

Research Overview

View Professor Watt's latest PubMed publications listing here

Listen to Professor Watt's latest research podcast on a new type 2 diabetes treatment discover here

Listen to Professor Watt's research podcast on the relationship between prostate cancer and obesity here


Obesity, type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are related diseases that increase morbidity and mortality and impose a significant global economic burden. Our innovative research program seeks to identify how defects of lipid metabolism and inter-tissue communication cause these obesity-related disorders, and to use this information to discover novel targets that can be transitioned to clinical therapeutics. Our inter-linked research themes are:

1. Pathogenesis of insulin resistance: understanding how insulin resistance develops in obesity.

2. Metabolic ‘cross-talk’: understanding how proteins that are secreted by NAFLD / non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) liver affect metabolism in tissues of the body, and how this contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes.

3. Regulation of lipid metabolism: identifying novel proteins that control lipid metabolism in mammalian cells, to determine how these proteins are regulated, and whether their expression is altered in metabolic diseases (e.g. diabetes, cancer).

4. Adipose tissue biology: determining the regulation of adipose tissue development and function in health and disease.


Professor Matthew Watt, Head of Department of Physiology, Head of Laboratory

Dr Magda Montgomery, Senior Research Fellow

Dr Ayenachew Bezawork-Geleta, Research Fellow

Dr Jacquie Bayliss, Research Assistant

Dr Paula Miotto, Research Fellow

Dr Stacey Keenan, Research Assistant

Aline Boer, Visiting PhD Student (University of Copenhagen)


2019-2020 NHMRC Project Grant. Regulation of glycemic control by secreted modular calcium-binding protein 1. MJ Watt. Awarded $832,521

2019-2020 NHMRC. Discovery and validation of biomarkers for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and liver fibrosis. MJ Watt. Awarded $772,521

2018-2020 ARC Discovery Project. (DP180102935). Characterising the lipid droplet-mitochondria proteome. MJ Watt. Awarded $440,000