William Cawthorn

Senior Lecturer

  • Centre for Cardiovascular Science

Contact details



Queen's Medical Research Institute
47 Little France Crescent
Edinburgh BioQuarter

Post code
EH16 4TJ

Research summary

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, publications, funding and other activities).

Research activities

View all 60 activities on Research Explorer

View all 51 publications on Research Explorer