Frances Ashcroft is the Royal Society GlaxoSmithKline Research Professor at the University Laboratory of Physiology, Oxford and a Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford. She holds BA, PhD and ScD degrees from Cambridge University and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1999. Her research focuses on ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels and their role in insulin secretion, in both health and disease. She is interested in how KATP channel function relates to channel structure, how cell metabolism regulates channel activity, and how mutations in KATP channel genes cause human disease.
The ultimate goal is to elucidate how a rise in the blood glucose concentration stimulates the release of insulin from the pancreatic beta-cells, what goes wrong with this process in type 2 diabetes, and how drugs used to treat this condition exert their beneficial effects. She has written a text book Ion Channels and Disease and is Director of OXION, a training and research programme on the integrative physiology of ion channels, funded by the Wellcome Trust.