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Professor Paul Thornalley



Professor in Systems Biology


WMS - Metabolic and Vascular Health
University of Warwick
Tel: +44(0)24 7696 8594

Research Interests

Leading a multi-disciplinary team working in the field of disease mechanisms - particularly the study of damage to the proteome by glycation, oxidation and nitration, related enzymatic countermeasures raised by transcription factor Nrf2 and antioxidant response element (ARE)-regulated expression and other metabolic dysfunction. A distinctive and pioneering expertise is glycation by the dicarbonyl metabolite methylglyoxal and prevention of this by the glyoxalase system. Diseases under current investigation are: vascular complications of diabetes, renal failure, ageing and glyoxalase 1-linked multidrug resistant tumours. Novel therapeutics development under current investigation are: glyoxalase 1 inducers, glyoxalase 1 inhibitors and Nrf2 activators. I have a particular interest in: (i) inducers of glyoxalase 1 for diabetic vascular disease and healthy ageing, and (ii) glyoxalase 1 inhibitors for glyoxalase 1-mediated multidrug resistant tumours. Novel diagnostics under investigation are: biomarkers for vascular and metabolic health, and healthy ageing.


I am a biomedical researcher and research team leader working in translational medicine, diet and health, development of functional foods and pharmaceuticals and systems biology. I lead research on the formation of the reactive dicarbonyl metabolite methylglyoxal and its metabolism by the glyoxalase system in human health and disease. Accumulation of methylglyoxal ‒ dicarbonyl stress ‒ is a new type of metabolic imbalance that is providing improved understanding of disease, health decline in ageing and new routes to treatment. The key enzyme of this system, glyoxalase 1 (Glo1), is now a target for Glo1 inducer development as active agents of functional foods for healthy ageing ‒ particularly to counter development of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease, and pharmaceuticals for treatment of vascular complications of diabetes ‒ particularly diabetic renal disease, renal failure, neurological disorders and other disease. Glo1 inhibition is a strategy for development of novel antitumour agents. Increased Glo1 copy number occurs in refractory tumours is associated with multidrug resistance (MDR) and sensitivity to Glo1 inhibitors. Glo1 inhibitor therapy would likely active particularly against MDR breast cancer and lung cancer. I have experience in cellular, pre-clinical and clinical studies. I lead a multidisciplinary team of biomedical and clinical investigators. I have published 260 peer-reviewed articles and 190 conference papers with h-factor 63. I collaborate with leading experts in biomedical research worldwide and partners in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Research Projects

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View Paul Thornalley Publications on the University of Warwick Publication service.

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