Dr Rhys Evans is the University Reader in metabolic biochemistry, and undertakes basic research in this field within the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics.
He is also a consultant intensive care physician, working in the Cardiothoracic Critical Care Unit of the John Radcliffe hospital. His research centres around the role of lipids, and their derivatives, as both metabolic substrates and signals, particularly in relation to energy provision to the heart. Of particular interest is the importance of substrate selection by tissues in relation to their function – altered substrate selection can lead to impaired function, and this may form the basis of diverse diseases, including heart failure. The notion that altered fuel selection by tissues, including heart, is responsible for the poor function observed in disease states leads to the possibility of treating disease by manipulating substrate utilisation, and this relationship is being pursued in triacylglycerol and ketone body metabolism in cardiac failure and diabetes. The metabolic diseases are now recognised as one of the major contributors to morbidity and mortality and hence they are attracting considerable research interest. Metabolic biochemistry is a key area of physiology, and is therefore a core topic in several university undergraduate courses, including both medicine and biomedical science.