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Substrate specificity of Hexokinases

1991 …2017
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Personal profile


After my first degree in Chemistry at Royal Holloway College I pursued biochemistry research and undertook a PhD using NMR to investigate metabolic disease. I continued to do Post-Doctoral research in liver biochemistry at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine, being appointed as a Lecturer in the new Medical School in 2000. My work there revealed a novel mechanism by which the liver could regulate blood glucose, and much of my subsequent work is related to biochemical mechanisms of glycemic homoestasis instigated by the hexokinase class of enzymes. After discovering a mammalian polyphosphate dependent glucokinase that is inhibited by ATP my work is now acutely foucsed on understanding how very similar active sites in different hexokinases can discriminate between different phosphorylation substrates. A molecular explanation for this specificity will impact directly on our understanding of the role of glucokinase in diabetes and hexokinases in cancer. Our novel NMR enzymology now gives us the power to answer key questions about how hexokinases obtain their specificity that have remianed unanswered for decades. I moved to the Department of Chemical and Biological Sciences (now Biological and Geographical Sciences) at Huddersfield in the Summer of 2004, taking on significant new teaching duties as a senior Lecturer, and appointed to Subject Leader (Biochemical sciences) in 2014. 

I am an active member of the Biochemical Society (the Local Ambassador at Huddersfield and a previous member of Council (2011) and I regulalry paritcipate in promoting biochemsitry in local Schools. 

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Biochemistry
  • Regulation of metabolism
  • NMR / MRS in vivo and in vitro to investigate mechanisms of metabolic control
  • Fetal programming of adult disease
  • Glucokinase and hexokinase biochemistry

Research Degree Supervision

Click Here to see all postgraduate research opportunities with Dr Shamus Burns

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Shamus Burns is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Fetal Development Medicine & Life Sciences
Glucokinase Medicine & Life Sciences
Liver Medicine & Life Sciences
Gluconeogenesis Medicine & Life Sciences
Rats Chemical Compounds
Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy Chemical Compounds
Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Medicine & Life Sciences
Digitonin Chemical Compounds

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Research Output 1991 2017

4 Citations (Scopus)

A novel mammalian glucokinase exhibiting exclusive inorganic polyphosphate dependence in the cell nucleus

Ali, A., Wathes, D. C., Swali, A., Burns, H. & Burns, S., 1 Dec 2017, In : Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports. 12, p. 151-157 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Cell Nucleus
Adenosine Triphosphate
340 Citations (Scopus)

Epigenetic modification of the renin-angiotensin system in the fetal programming of hypertension

Bogdarina, I., Welham, S., King, P. J., Burns, S. P. & Clark, A. J. L., 2 Mar 2007, In : Circulation Research. 100, 4, p. 520-526 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Renin-Angiotensin System
Fetal Development
11 Citations (Scopus)

Metabolic acidosis and other determinants of hemoglobin-oxygen dissociation in severe childhood Plasmodium falciparum malaria

Sasi, P., Burns, S. P., Waruiru, C., English, M., Hobson, C. L., King, C. G., Mosobo, M., Beech, J. S., Iles, R. A., Boucher, B. J. & Cohen, R. D., Aug 2007, In : American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 77, 2, p. 256-260 5 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Falciparum Malaria
39 Citations (Scopus)

Investigation of the role of epigenetic modification of the rat glucokinase gene in fetal programming

Bogdarina, I., Murphy, H. C., Burns, S. P. & Clark, A. J. L., 30 Jan 2004, In : Life Sciences. 74, 11, p. 1407-1415 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fetal Development

Activities 1989 2019

  • 1 Membership of a Society or Institute
  • 1 Grant peer-review

Summer Vacation Studentships

Shamus Burns (Participant)
21 Mar 2019

Activity: Other activity typesGrant peer-review

Biochemical Society (External organisation)

Shamus Burns (Member)

Activity: Membership typesMembership of a Society or Institute