UCL Division of Medicine


Maximizing the health benefits obtained from bariatric surgery

10 January 2017


 Professor Rachel Batterham has been awarded the prestigious Sir Jules Thorn Award for Biomedical Award (£1,423 625) for 2016. This award supports a 5-year programme of translational biomedical research and was awarded following a competition among applicants sponsored by leading UK medical schools and NHS organisations.  Rachel’s programme of research entitled “Maximising the health benefits of bariatric surgery”  will utilise a precision medicine based approach to managing people with obesity based on deep phenotyping coupled with ‘omics’. Given the associated surgical risks and the severely restricted access to surgery the UK (<1% of eligible patients), maximizing the health benefits obtained from bariatric surgery is a key area of unmet clinical need. Rachel’s work will address this by undertaking clinical studies to

  1. Determine if surgical procedure allocation based upon genotype improves post-surgical weight-loss and metabolic outcomes.
  2. Evaluate whether an exercise-behavioural intervention delivered in the early post-operative period improves weight-loss, physical activity levels and health outcomes.
  3. Establish if ‘poor’ post-operative weight-loss response can be improved using personalized pharmaceutical interventions tailored to the patient’s post-surgery biology. This translational research programme will determine whether genotype-based patient procedure allocation is of clinical value and will help to define post-operative management strategies thus maximizing the health benefits of bariatric surgery.

In further success for Rachel, the Medical Research Council has awarded £900,000 to David Williams (Institute of Women’s Health, PI) and Professor Rachel Batterham (co-I) to study  the effect that being overweight/obese as a dad has on the baby/future adult and will also examine the impact of bariatric surgery.