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Dr Simon C. Cork

Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care
School of Medicine
Areas of Expertise:
Physiology , Neuroscience

Dr Simon Cork is the Phase 1 lead and Academic Lead for Admissions for the MBChB Undergraduate Medicine degree course. He is also Co-Lead for Widening Participation, Lead for Scientific Foundations and Lead for Physiology.

[email protected]

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Dr Cork obtained his PhD in neurophysiology from St Aidan’s College, Durham University, in 2013. His doctoral research focussed on the neural control of blood pressure and identified neurochemical changes that underpin increased autonomic drive to the cardiovascular system in hypertension. This was followed by post-doctoral research at University College London and a research fellow position at Imperial College London, in the laboratory of Prof Sir Stephen Bloom. His post-doctoral research specialised in the regulation of hunger and body weight, particularly the role of gut hormones in the control of appetite and their therapeutic potential in the treatment of obesity.

Dr Cork has extensive experience of media engagement, regularly appearing on TV, radio, print and online news outlets discussing the physiology of body weight regulation and the treatment of obesity, particularly in relation to gut hormone analogues, e.g., semaglutide (Wegovy/Ozempic).

With a passion for widening access to higher education for individuals from under-represented backgrounds, Dr Cork sits on numerous national committees focussed on widening access to medical schools and is involved in instigating a number of initiatives within the School of Medicine to attract and retain such students.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Obesity
  • Weight loss drugs
  • Widening Access to Medicine
Research interests
  • Obesity
  • Gut hormones
  • Gut-brain axis
  • Widening participation

Medicine (MBChB)

  • BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science, University of Durham (2008)
  • PhD, Neurophysiology, University of Durham (2013)
  • PGCert, Clinical Education, King's College London (2020)
Memberships, editorial boards
  • Physiological Society
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Selected recent publications

Cork, SC. (2023). A Model for Online Delivery of Multiple Mini Interviews. Journal of medical education and curricular development,10, 23821205231183875

Alonso, AM*, Cork, SC*, Ma, Y, Arnold, M, Herzog, H, Bloom, SR, Murphy, KG & Salem, VS, 2020. The vagus nerve mediates the physiological but not pharmacological effects of PYY3-36 on food intake. Biorxiv. doi:10.1101/2020.08.07.241851 *Joint first authors

Lubba, CH, Le Guen, Y, Jarvis, S, Jones, NS, Cork, SC, Eftekhar, A & Schultz, SR, 2019. PyPNS: Multiscale simulation of peripheral nerve in Python. Neuroinformatics. 17: 63-81.

Cork, SC, 2018. The role of the vagus nerve in appetite control: implications for obesity pathogenesis. J Neuroendocrinol. Sep 11:e12643.

Cork, SC, Eftekhar, A, Mirza, KB, Zuliani, C, Nikolic, K, Gardiner, JV, Bloom, SR & Toumazou, C, 2017. Extracellular pH monitoring for use in closed-loop vagal nerve stimulation. J Neural Eng. 15: 016001.

Mirza, KB, Wildner, K, Kulasekeram, N, Cork, SC, Bloom, SR, Nikolic, K & Toumazou, C, 2017. Platform for closed-loop neuromodulation based on dual mode biosignals. bioRxiv. 163329.

Cork, SC, Chazot. PL, & Pyner, S, 2016. Altered GABAA α5 subunit expression in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus of hypertensive and pregnant rats. Neurosci Lett. 620: 148-153.

Cork, SC, Richards, JE, Holt, MK, Gribble, FM, Reimann, F, & Trapp, S, 2015. Distribution and characterisation of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor expressing cells in the mouse brain. Mol Metab. 4(10):718-731.

Trapp, S. & Cork, SC, 2015. PPG neurons of the lower brainstem and their role in brain GLP-1 receptor activation. Am J Physiol Reg Int & Comp Physiol. 309(8):R795-804.

Wells, JA, Christie, IN, Hosford, PS, Vihko, P, Cork, SC, Kasparov, S, Lythgoe, MF & Gourine, AV, 2015. A critical role for purinergic signalling in the mechanisms underlying generation of BOLD fMRI responses. J Neurosci. 35(13):5284-92.

Broichagen, J, Schonberger, M, Cork, SC, Frank, JA, Marchetii, P, Bugliani, M, Shapiro, AMJ, Trapp, S, Rutter, GA, Hodson, DJ & Trauner, D, 2014. Optical control of insulin release using a photoswitchable sulfonylurea. Nature Communications. 5:5116.

Richards, P, Parker, HE, Adriaenssens, AE, Hodgson, JM, Cork, SC, Trapp, S, Gribble, FM & Reimann, F, 2013. Identification and Characterization of GLP-1 Receptor–Expressing Cells Using a New Transgenic Mouse Model. Diabetes. 63(4):1224-1233.

Watkins, ND, Cork, SC & Pyner, S, 2009. An Immunohistochemical investigation of the relationship between neuronal nitric oxide synthase, GABA and presympathetic paraventricular neurons in the hypothalamus. Neuroscience. 159(3):1079-88.

Recent presentations and conferences

July 2023, Keynote Speaker, New Scientist Live Masterclass – New Obesity Drugs: What’s the evidence? London

February 2020, Invited Speaker, John Ray Society, St Catherine’s College, University of Cambridge.

December 2019, Keynote Speaker, Neuroscience of Energy Balance Symposium, Manchester.

January 2018, Invited Speaker, Association of Science Educators Conference, Liverpool.

Media experience

Dr Cork has extensive experience of communicating with journalists on a wide range of topics, most notably the use of GLP-1 analogues (e.g. semaglutide) for the treatment of obesity. He has appeared on major TV and Radio networks, including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, LBC, Times Radio, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4 and has been quoted in major UK and international newspapers, including The Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Mail, New York Times, Reuters and New Scientist. For media enquiries please contact the media team on the link above.