Robin Irvine is renowned for his contributions to the study of the biological functions of phospholipids and, in particular, the phosphoinositide signalling mechanism — now recognised as being central to many cellular processes. A number of his discoveries have significantly advanced the field.
He helped to establish inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate as a secondary messenger that regulates the mobilisation of calcium within the cell. By establishing techniques for the separation and analysis of inositol phosphates generated by cells, Robin laid the experimental and conceptual foundations for an expansion in our understanding of the inositol-containing phospholipids, known as inositides.
Robin went on to identify routes to inositide metabolism, characterising the enzymes that form them and identifying potential effectors. He has published his research extensively and over ten of his papers have been accepted by the scientific journal Nature. His work has received over 35,000 citations in the scientific literature. He has also been invited to speak about his findings at a number of prestigious conferences.