Dr Simon Cork

Senior Lecturer in Physiology, Phase 1 lead and Admissions Tutor, School of Medicine

Faculty:Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care

School:School of Medicine

Location: Chelmsford

Areas of Expertise: Physiology , Neuroscience

Dr Simon Cork is a Senior Lecturer in Physiology and leads the physiology theme for the MBChB course. He is also the Phase 1 lead and Admissions Dean for the medicine degree and co-lead for widening participation.

Twitter: @DrSimonCork


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 is passionate about science communication and has appeared on numerous national and international TV and radio programmes and is regularly quoted in newspapers particularly on the topic of obesity, but more recently on various aspects of human physiology.

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.

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

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

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

  • Tonight Show (ITV)
  • The Jeremy Vine Show (BBC Radio 2)
  • The Today Programme (BBC Radio 4)
  • Sky News
  • BBC News Worldwide
  • BBC Local Radio
  • ITV News
  • Multiple national and international newspapers