Centre for Cardiovascular Science

Will Cawthorn Research Group

Information on the research interests, projects, and members of Will Cawthorn's Research Group.

Will Cawthorn profile image

Dr Will Cawthorn

Chancellor's Fellow


I study the formation and function of bone marrow adipose tissue (BMAT), a major component of our bone marrow that may have broad implications on health and disease.

One striking observation is that, unlike other types of adipose tissue, BMAT accumulates during conditions of starvation, including caloric restriction (CR) in animals and in human patients with anorexia nervosa. Therefore, a key focus of my lab is to determine the causes and consequences of BMAT accumulation during CR. To do so we use a combination of preclinical models, cutting-edge biomedical imaging, and clinical sample analyses. Our aim is to establish how BMAT impacts metabolic homeostasis, haematopoiesis, cardiovascular function and skeletal health.

There is currently much interest in using CR, or pharmacological CR mimetics, to prevent and treat chronic diseases. In pursuing our studies of CR and BMAT, my lab has identified striking sex differences, with females resisting many of the metabolic benefits of CR. This has implications for the use of CR and/or CR mimetics to improve health. Thus, my lab is now also investigating the mechanisms underlying these sex differences. Understanding these mechanisms might reveal new approaches for treating chronic diseases.

Finally, my lab is exploring population-level techniques to dissect the formation and function of BMAT in humans, both in normal physiology and disease.

More information can be found elsewhere on the Centre for Cardiovascular Science website, and via my profile on Edinburgh Research Explorer (which includes further details of my research, publicationsfunding and other activities).

For a list of up-to-date publications, please visit:

Will Cawthorn's Profile Page

Willingness to take PhD Students: Yes

Research Group Members