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Fellows Directory

Richard Denton

Professor Richard Denton FMedSci FRS


Elected: 1998


Richard ‘Dick’ Denton is a biochemist who has concentrated on two important areas of the control of metabolism in animals.

One area has been the means whereby insulin rapidly regulates metabolism in many tissues. A major focus of his research with colleagues has been the molecular basis by which insulin activates the conversion of glucose into fat in adipose tissue cells. They showed that insulin activates pyruvate dehydrogenase and acetyl-CoA carboxylase through changes in the phosphorylation of these enzymes and then established some of the elements within the complex insulin signalling pathway that bring about these changes.

The second area has been the study of the role of calcium ions within mitochondria of vertebrate tissues in the regulation of energy metabolism. This work showed that calcium ions activate three important intra-mitochondrial dehydrogenases (pyruvate, isocitrate and oxoglutarate dehydrogenases) and that this is an important mechanism whereby ATP supply is increased in cells in many circumstances when cellular ATP demand is elevated due to a rise in the cytoplasmic concentration of calcium ions.

Professional positions

Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry, School of Biochemistry, University of Bristol
Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry, School of Medical Sciences, University of Bristol

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Adipose tissue, Calcium ions, Insulin signaling, Intra-mitochondrial energy metabolism, Metabolic regulation, Pyruvate dehydrogenase