Akhilesh Reddy is a graduate of the M.D./Ph.D. program at the University of Cambridge. He undertook the doctoral component in Dr. Michael Hastings’s laboratory at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, while pursuing studies at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine. At that time, he was focused on the neurobiology of circadian rhythms — approximately 24-hour cycles that control our body’s physiology — and, in particular, the molecular basis of the clockwork. He continued this investigation as a postdoctoral Research Fellow at St. John’s College, Cambridge, where he showed the pervasive control that the clockwork has on liver physiology — with 10%–15% of genes and proteins undergoing daily oscillations.
After full-time training in neurology, Dr. Reddy was awarded a Wellcome Trust Clinician Scientist fellowship in 2008 and started his research group within the Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge, where he is now a Consultant Neurologist and is supported by a Wellcome Senior Fellowship in Clinical Sciences. In 2011, Dr. Reddy was selected as an EMBO Young Investigator. In 2012, he received the Colworth Medal for Biochemistry and a Lister Prize in Preventive Medicine, and in 2013 he received the Academy of Medical Sciences Foulkes Foundation Medal.
Dr. Reddy’s laboratory currently investigates the molecular mechanisms that bring about 24-hour oscillations and their relation to sleep biology. His group discovered that even when cells do not have DNA to “instruct” them what to do, they can still maintain an autonomous ticking clock. This has opened many avenues of research into how these “non-transcriptional” metabolic redox oscillations arise. His group is currently focused on peroxiredoxin proteins, which are an evolutionarily conserved “readout” of clocks in all domains of life (bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes), implying that redox oscillations are a fundamental unifying feature of cellular timekeeping. By uncovering mechanisms by which 24-hour biology is regulated, Dr. Reddy’s group hopes to treat neurological disorders, metabolic syndromes, and cancer, which have all been linked to malfunctioning clocks.