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The University of Southampton

Professor Christopher Byrne PhD, FRCPath, FRCP

Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Honorary Consultant Diabetologist & Metabolic Physician

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Professor Christopher Byrne is Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

Christopher Byrne was appointed to the Chair of Endocrinology & Metabolism at the University of Southampton in 1999. He trained at Cardiff, Hammersmith Hospital, Cambridge and Stanford Universities. As an MRC clinical training fellow he undertook his PhD in Cambridge (Downing College 1989-1992). He then undertook a 2 year travelling fellowship at Stanford University, CA and was then an MRC fellow at Cambridge University from 1994-1999. He was inaugural Director of the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility at Southampton and is now Principal Investigator within the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre. He has published over 300 peer reviewed papers and three books related to metabolic syndrome and non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). He is also Consultant Metabolic physician at University Hospital Southampton, where working with colleagues in Hepatology he provides a service for patients with diabetes and non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Additionally he specialises in the medical management of morbid obesity and also dyslipidaemias. He was instrumental in establishing the genetic testing service for Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) with colleagues at University Hospital Southampton and this NHS service was the first of its kind in England. The Southampton-based service is currently available for over 2 million people on the South Coast. In 2012, he was recipient of the Dorothy Hodgkin prize awarded by Diabetes UK for his research related in diabetes and NAFLD. He is a member of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes NAFLD study Group, Diabetes UK, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, and is past President of the Royal Society of Medicine, Lipids, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Risk Section.

  • MRC Training Fellow 1990-92
  • Pfizer Academic Travel Award 1991
  • Peel Trust Travelling Fellow 1992-93
  • Cambridge University/Parke Davis Travelling Fellow 1993-94
  • MRC Fellow 1994-99
  • Fournier Lipidology Award 1999
  • British Hyperlipidaemia Association & Parke Davis/Pfizer Award 1999
  • John French Lectureship 1999
  • Eli Lilly Award 2000
  • Membership Association of Physicians 2003
  • Dorothy Hodgkin Award Diabetes UK 2012
  • President RSM Lipids, Metabolism and Vascular Risk section (2013 - 2016 )
Appointments held


Research interests

Professor Byrne’s research career began in 1989 supported by an MRC Clinical Training Fellowship at Cambridge University. Supervised by the late Professor Nick Hales, his PhD studying liver lipid metabolism was awarded in 1992. In 1992 he was awarded a Visiting Fellowship to study as a post-doctoral scientist at Stanford University School of Medicine, California, studying the apolipoprotein(a)/plasminogen gene cluster and mapping the gene cluster on chromosome 6. During that time he identified and characterised two novel apolipoprotein(a)-related genes.

In 1994 he returned to Cambridge supported by an MRC Fellowship to study molecular mechanisms involved in the aetiology of cardio-metabolic risk factors. He completed clinical training and was appointed Consultant in Metabolic medicine at Addenbrooke’s hospital in 1996. In 1999, Professor Byrne and his research team moved to the University of Southampton.

The research team’s current programme is focussed on the aetiology, pathogenesis, extra-hepatic complications, and testing novel treatments for non alcoholic fatty liver disease.

(see Byrne CD, Targher G. NAFLD: A multisystem disease. J Hepatol. 2015 Apr;62(1S):S47-S64 & Bhatia, L.S., Curzen, N., Calder, P.C. and Byrne, Christopher D. (2012) Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a new and important cardiovascular risk factor. European Heart Journal, 33, (10), 1190-200.)

Professor Byrne collaborates with national and international colleagues on studies related to NAFLD, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular risk factors. (Professor Sarah Wild University of Edinburgh, UK, Professors Ki-Chul Sung, Yoosoo Chang and Seungho Ryu from Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea, Professor Giovanni Targher from the University of Verona, Italy, Professor Michael Boyle from the University of West Indies at Mona in Jamaica and Professor Valerio Nobili from the University of Rome, Italy)

Research projects

Wessex Evaluation of fatty Liver and Cardiovascular markers in NAFLD (non alcoholic fatty liver disease) with OMacor thErapy: WELCOME Study completed 2019.

( registration number NCT00760513)

The WELCOME (Wessex Evaluation of fatty Liver and Cardiovascular markers in NAFLD [non alcoholic fatty liver disease] with OMacor thErapy) study was a phase IV trial that was undertaken in 100 patients with non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The WELCOME study tested the effects of high dose purified n-3 long chain fatty acids (Omacor- Solvay/Abbott/Pronova 4 grames o.d. on a range of liver and cardio-metabolic outcomes. The WELCOME study was run within the Southampton NIHR Biomedical Research Centre in Nutrition, Lifestyle and Obesity. The trial enabled collaborations with another UK BRU, three other UK universities and with industry (Solvay and Pronova). The trial had core funding from NIHR and also attracted extra grant support from Diabetes UK, the NHS and the University of Pavia (Italy). The WELCOME study was registered with the Diabetes and Hepatology networks. The trial was also adopted by the NIHR Portfolio.


Investigation of the effects of a synbiotic on liver fat, disease biomarkers and intestinal microbiota in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (ongoing)

Investigation of synbiotic treatment in NAFLD (INSYTE)  registration number NCT01680640 REC: 12/SC/0614

The objective of this study is to determine the effects of altering gut microbiota in patients with NAFLD through administration of a combination of a pre and a probiotic (termed a synbiotic) on liver fat and a range of disease biomarkers. Our specific hypothesis is that: synbiotic treatment is beneficial in decreasing liver fat content and synbiotic treatment favourably changes the gut microbiota composition. Our specific aims are: to test the effects of the synbiotic intervention on the primary outcomes (changes in: liver fat percentage and gut microbiota composition) and secondary outcomes (changes in: liver mitochondrial function, gut permeability, gut hormone profile, serum lipopolysaccharide levels, plasma/faecal short chain fatty acids levels, plasma/urine/faecal bile acid and plasma/urine trimethyl-amine (TMA) concentrations).

Our study will elucidate whether treatment with a synbiotic can modify gut microbiota and decrease liver fat. Additionally, we will test whether synbiotic treatment can modify metaorganismal pathways and improve metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors associated with NAFLD.




Human Development and Health

Affiliate Department(s)

Human Development and Physiology

Postgraduate supervision

PhD supervision

  • Dr Junlong Zhang University of Cambridge 2000
  • Dr Meis Moukayed University of Cambridge 2002
  • Dr Maha Othman University of Southampton 2003
  • Dr Lisa Douet University of Southampton 2008
  • Dr John Valletta University of Southampton 2011
  • Dr Hugh Thomas University of Southampton 2017
  • Dr Albandri Alshathry University of Southampton 2017
  • Dr Eleonora Scorletti University of Southampton 2018
  • Dr Lokpal Bhatia University of Southampton 2019
  • Dr Oluwakemi Lokulo-Sodipe University of Southampton 2019

MD supervision

  • Dr David Neal University of Southampton 2004
  • Dr Ruth Poole University of Southampton 2006
  • Dr Rustom Guzder University of Southampton 2006
  • Dr Helen Holt University of Southampton 2007
  • Dr Dinesh Bagmane University of Southampton 2009
  • Dr Magdalena Turzyniecka University of Southampton 2012
  • Dr Omar Rana University of Southampton 2012
  • Dr Natalie Borman University of Southampton 2014

PhD students

  • Amal Almehadi
  • Adrian Cheang
  • Josh Beavis

MPhil examiner

  • University of Newcastle, 2004

MD examiner

  • University of Newcastle, 2006
  • University of Southampton 2009
  • University of Southampton 2013
  • University of Southampton 2019

PhD examiner

  • University of Belfast, 2004
  • University of Cambridge, 2005.
  • University of Southampton, 2008
  • University of London Imperial, 2009
  • Peninsula Medical School, University of Plymouth, 2010
  • University of Glasgow 2011
  • University of Cambridge 2014
  • University of Southampton 2014
  • Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Exeter and Plymouth, 2015
National and international responsibilities
  • Committee member of the British Hyperlipidaemia Association (1997-2000).
  • Committee member Research Grants Diabetes UK 2005-2008
  • Committee member Lipids section Royal Society of Medicine 2006-
  • Junior Hon Secretary Lipids, Metabolism & Vascular Risk section at the Royal Society of Medicine 2008-
  • Research Grants Committee member. Diabetes UK 2009-2013
  • Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) member for the Laboratory of Developmental Biology (LDB) at Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University. June 2010-2014
  • Faculty member F1000 Prime 2014-
  • President RSM Lipids, Metabolism and Vascular Risk section 2013-2016
  • Member of the Steering Committee of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) 2016-
  • NICE NAFLD Guideline (ng49) Development Group member and Expert Diabetologist Advisor 2014-2016
  • Expert Adviser panel member for the NICE Centre for Guidelines (CfG) Committee. Dec 2016-
  • Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Chronic Liver Disease Working Group/Committee meeting. 18th July 2017
  • Health Research Board Ireland EIA 2018 Grants review panel member
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Book Chapters


Journal Special Issue


Professor Byrne gives regular lectures to physicians and students on diabetes, non alcoholic fatty liver disease, the metabolic syndrome, and the diagnosis and management of hyperlipidaemias.

  • Pastoral tutor: University of Southampton medical students
  • Teaching 2nd year Endocrine course University of Southampton Medical students
  • Teaching 3rd year Endocrinology University of Southampton Medical students
  • Teaching 3rd year BSc course in Nutrition, University of Southampton students
  • Teaching ‘Scientific basis of Diabetes’ symposium for Year 3 Medical students
  • Head of Field Year 3 Research Project BMedSci/MMedSci Diabetes & Endocrinology
  • BM Final Year Diabetes Revision
  • Clinical Supervisor SpRs in Chemical Pathology/Metabolic Medicine
  • Southampton University Hospitals Trust Course organiser SpR Metabolic Medicine, Southampton University Hospitals Trust
  • Academic Supervisor: Academic Clinical Fellow Metabolic Medicine
Professor Christopher Byrne
Phone: (023) 8120 8818 PA: (023) 8120 5006 Fax: (023) 8120 4221 Email:, Room Number: SGH//MP887

Room Number: SGH//MP887

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