Dr Stephen Ashcroft


I was educated at Bolton School and then read Natural Sciences at Cambridge where I took the Natural Science Tripos in 1963 reading Biochemistry for Part II. After a short period in Switzerland I joined Philip Randle’s group in the newly formed Biochemistry department at the University of Bristol. Here I took my PhD and became a Lecturer in Biochemistry. In 1975 I moved to Oxford where I was appointed Lecturer in Clinical Biochemistry and Tutor in Biochemistry for Magdalen and Worcester Colleges. I was made Reader in Clinical Biochemistry in 1990 and retired in 2002. Since retirement I have been spending much of my time in my house on the island of Valen in Lake Hjälmaren in Sweden and indulging my interests in sailing, acting and playing jazz piano.


My research has been into the mechanisms regulating the insulin production by the beta-cells of the islets of Langerhans. The main focus of these studies was to determine the link between a rise in blood glucose concentration and the consequent increase in synthesis and secretion of insulin. The major conclusions were that the sugar exerts its effects via changes in the rate of its metabolism by the cell and that these changes affect rates of insulin production as a consequence of alterations in the activity of specific ion channels in the beta-cell membrane. The relevance of these findings to human disease has become apparent in recent years.