Photo of Professor Graham Kemp

Professor Graham Kemp MA DM DSc (Oxf) FRCPath FHEA FRSB CSci

Professor of Metabolic and Physiological Imaging Musculoskeletal & Ageing Science


    Research Overview

    My main research expertise is in human physiology and biochemistry in vivo studied by noninvasive means, notably magnetic resonance methods.

    Metabolic research in vivo

    Currently, my main research at Liverpool is on the interrelated topics of obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and fatty liver disease, in collaboration with Professor Dan Cuthbertson and Professor John Wilding. We use a variety of methods, including magnetic resonance measurements of liver fat and functional neuroimaging studies of appetite mechanisms, to study responses to experimental manipulation and in clinical trials of therapy. Publications arising from this research can be found on PubMed: Cuthbertson DJ[Author] and Kemp GJ[Author

    Current or recently-completed trials include:

    • ROMANCE: Randomised, controlled multi-centre trial of 26 weeks subcutaneous liraglutide (a GLP-1 receptor agonist), with or without continuous positive airway pressure, in patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (funded by Novo-Nordisk)

    • RESILIENT: RandomisEd, controlled, double blind Study to assess mechanistic effects of combination therapy of dapagliflozin with Exenatide QW versus dapagliflozin alone in obese patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (funded by AstraZeneca)

    • RADIcAL1: Non-invasive rapid assessment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease using magnetic resonance imaging with LiverMultiScan (with Perspectum Diagnostics Ltd)

    • MODIFY: Longitudinal Assessment of Multiple Organs in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes (with Perspectum Diagnostics Ltd, funded by Innovate UK)

    • VENTURE: VariablE activation of Neural paThways involved in appetite regUlation and REward-related brain areas as a mechanism to explain weight loss responders and non-responders with GLP-1 agonist treatment: integration of assessment of appetite with functional magnetic resonance imaging in obese, type 2 diabetes patients (pilot funded by University Technology Directorate voucher)

    • CALIBRATE: MetaboliC, multi-orgAn and microvascular effects of a Low-calorIe diet in younger oBese with pRediabetEs and/or metabolic syndrome (funded by European Fund for the Study of Diabetes)

    Neuroimaging research

    I have a long-standing collaboration with Professor Qiyong Gong of the Huaxi Magnetic Resonance Research Center at the West China Hospital of Sichuan University, PR China. Professor Gong, who worked for several years at the University of Liverpool, leads a large group of clinicians and imaging scientists applying advanced MRI neuroimaging techniques to large clinical studies of brain diseases such as depression, anorexia nervosa and PTSD. Publications arising from this research can be found on PubMed: Gong Q[Author] and Kemp GJ[Author]

    Magnetic resonance spectroscopy studies of skeletal muscle

    I started in magnetic resonance spectroscopy research with Professor Sir George Radda CBE FRS at the MRC Biochemical and Clinical Magnetic Resonance Unit at the University of Oxford (1989-1996), using 31P MRS as a tool to probe energy metabolism in skeletal muscle. Publications arising from this research can be found on PubMed: Radda GK[Author] and Kemp GJ[Author]. My long-standing focus has long been critical methodological and interpretive aspects of 31P MRS methods.

    Most of my current work in this area is in collaboration with MR physics experts at the Medical University of Vienna, where I am an Adjunct Professor, and at the University of Cambridge:

    • My work with Associate Professor Martin Meyerspeer at the Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Vienna, focusses on novel 31P MRS methods at 7 tesla. Publications arising from this research can be found on PubMed: Meyerspeer M[Author] and Kemp GJ[Author]

    • My work with Dr Alison Sleigh at the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre and Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge has examined the widely-advocated but still poorly-understood phenomenon of Pi-ATP exchange in skeletal muscle, and more recently novel 1H MRS approaches to the characterisation of muscle lipid. Publications arising from this research can be found on PubMed: Sleigh A[Author] and Kemp GJ[Author]

    Research Grants

    Multi-organ abnormality prevalence in type 2 diabetes mellitus


    April 2019 - March 2022

    Randomised, single blind study to assess efficacy of combination therapy of dapagliflozin with exanitide LAR versus exanatide LAR monotherapy in obese (BMI>35 kg/m2) patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (RESILIENT)


    July 2016 - June 2024

    Characterising the metabolic disruption caused by brief periods of reduced physical activity in people with a family history of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).


    March 2014 - December 2017

    The effects of exercise training on visceral fat, insulin sensitivity, beta cell function and triglyceride kinetics in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)


    October 2008 - March 2013

    Zinc-alpha2-glycoprotein (ZAG): A ‘friend or foe’ in obesity-induced insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?


    June 2010 - May 2011

    KEL09/08 - Improved sensor systems for medical imaging


    December 2009 - February 2011

    Physiological systems integration in the optimisation of exercise tolerance


    October 2011 - February 2014

    Centre of Excellence in musculoskeletal ageing research (MRC CIMA)


    June 2012 - December 2017

    Research Collaborations

    Dr Alison Sleigh

    External: The University of Cambridge

    Advanced MRS studies of skeletal muscle

    Prof Dan Cuthbertson


    1H MRS and MRI studies in obesity and insulin resistant-states

    Prof Qiyong Gong

    External: West China Hospital of Sichuan University

    Neuroimaging research in psychiatric and neurological disease

    Associate Prof Martin Meyerspeer

    External: The University of Vienna

    Advanced approaches to muscle metabolism by 31P MRS