UCL Division of Biosciences


Prof Surjit Kaila Singh Srai

Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Structural & Molecular Biology

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st Aug 1998

Research summary

IRON: Focus is on our understanding at the moleculatr level how essential/toxic metal iron is transported by cells to maintain functional levels, with particular reference to regulation of genes incvolved in intestinal, placetal, hepatic, musco/skletal, vascular and neuronal iron transport. This has an important bearing on our understanding of hereditary haemochriomatosis, thalassaemia, other iron overloads, iron deficiency anaemia, inflammation, infection, neurodegeneration, early development, obesity and healthy ageing.


To characterise genes that are responsible for cellular iron trafficking and for intestinal iron absorption and regulation.

To quantify genetic and environmental contributions to the control of body iron stores

To quantify the influence of various plasma factors (which are altered as a result of iron deficiency, hypoxia, pregnancy and increased erythropoiesis) on the control of intestinal iron absorption and cellular iron levels.

To determine the effect of iron levels on other genes, proteins and metabolites, which will be investigated by microarray analysis , proteomics and metablomics.

To identify genes and proteins regulated by the levels of other major dietary metals Zn & Cu and antioxidants, using a genomic and proteomics approach

GLUCOSE/PHOSPHATE: Mechanism of glucose and phosphate transport across intestine and renal epithelia in relation to diabetes and chronic renal failure. Disease models are being used to unravel the mechanisms involved in the regulation of transport of these essential elements.

Aim: Changes in renal and intestinal glucose transport in diabetes mellitus and control by glucagons: Involvement of protein kinase A and protein kinase C signalling pathways


To determine the role of protein kinase A (PKA) and protein kinase C (PKC) in controlling the expression and activity of the two classes of renal and intestinal transporters: GLUT (facilitated) and SGLT (Na+ coupled).

To define the relationship of these signalling pathways to the changes in renal and intestinal glucose transport that occur in insulin-opaenic diabetes mellitus, and in response to pancreatic glucagons

To establish the contribution of glucagon or glucagon like peptide receptors along the renal tubule and intestinal tract.

The long-term goal is to define the significance of altered renal tubular transport of glucose in diabetes to its renal patho-physiology.

Teaching summary

Third year courses in Biochemistry of Health and disease, Genes to disease, Nutrition metabolism and endocrinology. My main teaching is in phase 1 to medical students, third year biochemistry courses to life sciences and intercalated B.Sc. students, M.Sc in Human Nutrition. This focuses on principle of Molecular biology and nutrient gene interactions as applied to health and disease .


University of London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1978
University of London
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 1974
University of London
First Degree, Bachelor of Science | 1973