William Cawthorn – Short Biography for ECTS2020 Training course
My research background is in the formation and function of adipose tissue, originally from the perspective of obesity and associated metabolic diseases and, more recently, in the context of caloric restriction. I did my PhD at the Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, focusing on the regulation of adipogenesis by tumour necrosis factor-alpha. In 2009 I moved to the University of Michigan to pursue postdoctoral research with Professor Ormond MacDougald, initially studying novel regulators of mesenchymal stem cell fate. During this time I began a side project studying bone marrow adipose tissue (BMAT), which, unlike white and brown adipose tissues, has been largely ignored by modern biomedical research. This side project eventually took centre stage, leading to the identification of BMAT as an endocrine organ that can contribute to systemic adaptations to caloric restriction.
To further pursue this research, in 2015 I moved to the University of Edinburgh to take up a Chancellor’s Fellowship in the Centre for Cardiovascular Science. With funding from the Medical Research Council (UK), The British Heart Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, my lab is continuing to investigate the novel endocrine functions of BMAT through studies that include new mouse models, imaging approaches and clinical sample analysis. I am also a founding member and Secretary of the International Bone Marrow Adiposity Society (BMAS), which aims to advance knowledge of bone marrow adiposity through meetings, research/training & public engagement.