Dr Simon Cork

Senior Lecturer in Physiology and Physiology Theme Lead

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


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.

Twitter: @DrSimonCork


Dr Cork graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Biomedical Science from Stephenson College, Durham University before completing his PhD in neurophysiology at St Aidan’s College, Durham University. His PhD examined the neurochemical changes that underpin exacerbated sympathetic nerve activity observed in both hypertension and pregnancy. He then undertook postdoctoral research at both University College London and Imperial College London investigating the neural regulation of appetite, in particular focusing on the central GLP-1 system, the role of the vagus nerve in gut-brain communication and the development of novel neural recording technology for use in closed-loop neural implants.

Dr Cork then moved to King’s College London to work with students on the extended medical degree programme (EMDP); a medical degree for students from widening participation backgrounds. At ARU, Dr Cork leads the physiology teaching across the first three years of the medical degree. He maintains an interest in widening participation and is developing research in this area.

Research interests

  • Central regulation of appetite
  • Gut-brain axis
  • Obesity
  • Widening participation in university

Dr Cork’s research interests lie in how the brain regulates appetite. He has particular interest in the role of the vagus nerve in communicating between the gut and the brain and how this system contributes to obesity. He is also interested in widening participation in university and levelling the field in terms of access to higher education.


Medicine (MBChB)


  • BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science, University of Durham
  • PhD, Neurophysiology, University of Durham
  • PGCert, Clinical Education, King's College London

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member, The Physiological Society

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

  • The Jeremy Vine Show (BBC Radio 2)
  • The Today Programme (BBC Radio 4)
  • Sky News
  • BBC News Worldwide
  • BBC Local Radio
  • ITV News

Regularly quoted in major national newspapers (e.g. The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail) on stories relating to obesity.