Domenico Sergi

Domenico Sergi (PhD) was born on 7th January 1988 in Locri, Italy. After completing secondary school in 2007 (Bovalino, Italy) he moved on to study science of nutrition at the University of Calabria (Italy) from where he graduated with a Bachelor and a Master’s degree in science of nutrition, both awarded cum laude. During his Master’s degree he was awarded an Erasmus studentship to carry out a research project abroad at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health (University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK) where he developed his interest for obesity, diabetes and substrate metabolism. In 2012 he was awarded a 4 year fully funded PhD studentship at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health under the supervision of Prof Lynda M. Williams, Dr Janice Drew, Dr Iain Greig and Dr James Hislop. During his PhD, Domenico initially investigated the role and decoded the signaling and the function of a G protein-coupled receptor advocated as a novel hypothalamic target for the treatment of obesity. He then moved on to investigate the effect of dietary nutrients and particularly fatty acids on the hypothalamus focusing on the effect of dietary long-chain saturated fatty acids on insulin resistance, expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and lipotoxicity in primary hypothalamic cultures and hypothalamic neuronal cell lines. His primary research goal was to understand the mechanisms underpinning long-chain saturated fatty acid-induced inflammation and insulin resistance and how such a response can be counteracted by modulating fatty acid metabolism. Furthermore, he assessed changes in neuronal mitochondrial morphology to elucidate how dietary fatty acids affect mitochondria fusion and fission in relation to their ability to promote or prevent lipotoxicity. During his PhD he was selected as one of the University of Aberdeen representatives at the International Student Research Forum 2016 held at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing). He successfully defended his PhD thesis on 17th November 2016. In February 2017 he was appointed as postdoctoral researcher within the Diabetes and Metabolism Research Group to study the effect of pharmacological and nutritional compounds on insulin sensitivity, substrate metabolism and mitochondrial function in human primary myocytes and skeletal muscle cell line and to investigate putative activators of brown adipose tissue using cultured human primary brown adipocytes.