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Professor Christopher Byrne PhD, FRCPath, FRCP

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

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Prof Byrne is a clinical academic metabolic physician whose principal area of research focusses on non alcoholic fatty liver disease (metabolic-associated fatty liver disease).

Prof Byrne is a leader in metabolic medicine with a research focus on diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).  His research spans epidemiology to basic mechanisms and innovative clinical trials. His expertise was recognised in 2019 when he was ranked 7th in the world and first amongst UK-based researchers for NAFLD research between 2009 and 2019. A good example is his pivotal work that provided key evidence for the NICE NAFLD Guideline (ng49) in 2016 showed that omega-3 fatty acid treatment of NAFLD fails to improve the condition in all patients (2014), in part, because non-responders possess the PNPLA3 148MM genotype. Another example of his work in the field was to show that synbiotic treatment improved intestinal microbiota but not liver disease in patients with NAFLD (2020). 

His work on the cost effectiveness of different NHS models for establishing a Genetic testing service for Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH) facilitated him developing with colleagues the first in England NHS service, for FH Genetic testing that is located at University Hospital Southampton. 

Prof Byrne was the Inaugural Director of the Southampton NIHR Clinical Research Facility. He has supervised 18 PhD/MD researchers and has used his leadership across the globe to disseminate emerging knowledge on NAFLD. His research leadership, has been recognised by a number of prestigious awards including the Fournier Lipidology Award, British Hyperlipidaemia Association and Parke Davis/Pfizer Award, the John French Lectureship award, the Eli Lilly Award and the Dorothy Hodgkin Lecture Award. The strong translational direction of his research led to his selection as a NICE Expert Advisor, original member of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes NAFLD Study group, the PANNASH group of international experts and President of the Metabolic/Cardiovascular/Lipids Section of the Royal Society of Medicine. 


  • 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.

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. J Hepatol. 2015 Apr;62(1S):S47-S64; Scorletti et al. Hepatology. 2014 Oct;60(4):1211-21 & Scorletti et al Gastroenterology. 2020 May;158(6):1597-1610.e7.

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 Ming-Hua Zheng from the NAFLD Research Center, Department of Hepatology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China.

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

Prof Byrne is currently supervising four students (2020)

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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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

Room Number: SGH//MP887

Telephone:(023) 8120 5006
Facsimile:(023) 8120 5255

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