University of Hertfordshire

Dr Lisa Lione


Research interests

Dr Lisa Lione is an in vivo behavioural neuropharmacologist with 10 years drug discovery expertise in biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, including co-founding a private held biotechnological company (Cambridge Biotechnology Ltd, CBT). In industry, Lisa directed in vivo research in pain, obesity and cognition providing decision making data to deliver novel patented candidate drugs into clinical development, including the gold standard treatment Pregbalin (Lyrica®) for diabetic neuropathic pain.

Lisa is an Associate Professor (Research) at the University of Hertfordshire (UH) where she leads a translational pharmacology research programme in LMS, centred on understanding novel pharmacological mechanisms that drive complications of diabetes as a Home Office project licence holder (P6523417E, Diabetes mechanisms and treatment, 2009-2024). At UH Lisa has supervised 4 PhD  studentship awards and currently supervises 3 PhD students all working under her government licence. 

Lisa's research aims include:

1.  Investigating the involvement of TRP ion channels, PPARβδ, glucose metabolites (MGO, SSAO) and natural plant products (Tabernanthe iboga, Guibourtia tessmannii) in glucose sensing, vascular dysfunction and neuropathic pain (in collaboration with the IPHAMETRA Institute, Gabon, Africa, Prof Alain Souza, QR funded and seeking funding from Diabetes UK)

2.  Providing consultation studies for the discovery and development of novel analgesics for diabetic neuropathic pain in collaboration with the CRO, Transpharmation Ltd (Dr Neil Upton, £55K to date, Research concierge service Hertfordshire Science partnership ERDF funded)

3.  Improving the predictive validity and animal welfare of models of diabetes by investigating novel 'non-evoked' naturalistic behaviours (cognitive, burrowing, EEG) (HKEP funding with Transpharmation Ltd).

4.  Identifying biomarkers of neuropathic pain and improve responder rates to analgesia in diabetes using behaviour and transcriptomics (with Transpharmation Ltd, seeking funding)

5.  Understanding the pharmacological mechanisms underlying ketamine and novel psychoactive substances induced bladder dysfunction using histological and functional assays (P/T QR funded PhD studentship 2013-2019 in collaboration with Dr Benham, Dr Fergus at UH)

Current projects

  • PPARβ/δ receptor mediated control of vascular tone (Part time QR PhD studentship 2014-2019, £29,400, with Dr MacKenzie, University of Brighton, Dr Hutter at UH)

  • Mechanism of action of ketamine and NPSs induced bladder hypersensitivity (Part time QR PhD studentship 2014-2019, £23,625 with Dr Fergus and Dr Benham at UH)

  • Defining the off-target vascular effects of NSAIDs using computational chemistry, myography and in vivo target validation (QR PhD studentship 2016-2020, £60K in collaboration with Dr MacKenzie, University of Brighton, Dr Pritchard and Prof Zloh at UH)
  • Defining the active compounds in Tabernanthe iboga that increases insulin release as a novel therapy for diabetes (Rising Stars initiative with Dr MacKenzie, University of Brighton, £9,894, May 2018-Summer 2019, seeking funding from Diabetes Wellness Foudation and GCRF)

PhD Projects awarded PhD Doctorate at UH

  • Phytochemical charactersation and effects of the native plant Tabernanthe Iboga in models of diabetes (PhD studentship awarded in 2019, funded by IPHAMETRA Institute, Gabon 2014-2018 and internship with Oregon State University, £48,450 funded PhD studentship)
  • The Effects of Therapeutic Interventions or Influenza  Virus Challenge in a Model of House Dust Mite-Induced Type-2 Allergic Pulmonary Inflammation (2013-2018, GSK funded, PhD awarded 2018)

  • Endothelial cell dysfunction in diabetes (2013-2016, PhD awarded 2016)
  • Modulation of TRPV1 function in sensory neuropathy (2012-2015, PhD awarded 2015)

Future projects seeking external funding

  • Investigate mechanism of action of active compounds in Tabernanthe iboga and Guibourtia tessmannii native plants in diabetes. Seeking funding from Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) RCUK funding 3-year postdoc Fellowship. Interdisciplinary research grant with Institutions in the Developing world (IPHAMETRA Institute, Gabon, Prof Alain Souza) and University of Brighton (Dr Louise MacKenzie) (from 2020)

  • Characterisation of naturalistic pain endpoints (collaboration with TP Ltd) as translational predictive measures of diabetic neuropathic pain in vivo e.g. peripheral blood flow, EEG. Determine social housing welfare benefits in animals in neuropathic pain to impact on guidance to how researchers should house their animals to maximise welfare. (Hertfordshire Knowledge Exchange Partnership, 4 year PhD studentship, from Sept 2019)

  • Understanding the role of SSAO in diabetes (seeking funding from Diabetes UK)
  • Use of PPARβ/δ agonists or TRPV4 agonists with insulin to improve complications in diabetes 

  • Long term antidepressant ketamine use and bladder toxicity

Public engagement