News and Events

November 2019: The HIgenes team are continuing with their outreach efforts. Tom talks to students at Queen Elizabeth’s School about  “When genes go wrong: genetic testing in diabetes and hyperinsulinism”. During his talk he highlighted many of the benefits of pursuing a career in science.

September 2019: Sarah attends the Congenital Hyperinsulinism International Family Conference in Vienna. A wonderful opportunity to learn from families affected by this condition and to learn about the impact of our research.

June 2019: Tom is at the European Society of Human Genetics meeting in Sweden showcasing his work on CNVs in hyperinsulinism.

Tom_ESHG 2019

May 2019: We are in Prague attending the 7th Meeting of the EASD Study Group on the Genetics of Diabetes. Great talks from the HIgenes team including an overview of hyperinsulinism in Kabuki syndrome from Jayne Houghton followed by a presentation from Tom Laver on the contribution of large CNVs in hypoglycaemia.

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March 2019: The HIgenes team attended the Paediatric Endocrinology Symposium on Hypoglycaemia. It was great to give a lecture detailing the role of genetics in Hyperinsulinism.


March 2019: Sarah shares the latest exciting research findings from the HIgenes team with other Sir Henry Dale Fellows at the Wellcome Trust.

SHD meeting

November 2018: It is outreach month for the HI genes team. Sarah and Tom have been busy passing on their enthusiasm for science to students at Exeter School and Queen Elizabeth’s School in Crediton, UK.

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November 2018: Celebrating World Diabetes Day in Exeter.

Exeter WDD (1)


October 2018: Tom presents his work on Chromosome 20 deletions in hyperinsulinism at the American Society of Human Genetics conference in San Diego, USA. Congratulations Tom on receiving a ‘Reviewer’s Choice’ Award.



September 2018:  Sian attends the Congenital Hyperinsulinism International Family Conference in Athens. A great opportunity to highlight the importance of genetics in the condition and to learn from families.

September 2018: It’s that time of year again to raise some money for an extremely worthwhile cause #JeansforGenes.



July 2018: The HI genes team are extremely pleased to announce that they have teamed up with the Charitable Organisation, Congenital Hyperinsulinism International.The Exeter team have received generous funds donated by CHI which will allow them to provide genetic testing to all families regardless of their geographical and socio-economic status. This is a huge leap forward for the Congenital Hyperinsulinism community and we are very much looking forward to working with the CHI team on this amazing project. Further details regarding this exciting new partnership can  be found here.


June 2018: Sarah attended the Children’s Hyerinsulinism Charity, Bringing Families Together Conference. It was a great opportunity for talk to the families about the underlying genetic causes of the disorder and to learn from their experiences


June 2018: HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Sian who has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list. The team had great fun helping Sian celebrate in sunny Exeter.


May 2018: Jayne Houghton provides a great training session to the diagnostic team at the RD&E Hospital on occurrence of hyperinsulinism in Kabuki syndrome.

Jayne Kabuki


May 2018: Tom Laver helps to bring science to the masses at the University of Exeter ‘Pint of Science’ event. Standing room only for his talk on ‘When genes go wrong, learning from rare disease’.

Tom at pint of science 2018


April 2018: Sarah Flanagan has been selected to receive the G.B. Morgagni Young Investigator Award, a prize which celebrates exceptional research in the field of metabolic diseases. The prize is named after Giovanni Battista Morgagni who was one of the first scientists to carry out research on human anatomy, and is awarded once every two years to outstanding young research talent making a significant contribution to the field of diabetes research. Sarah will be presented with the prize at a ceremony in Venice on 19th October, where she will also be presenting a lecture. Read more about this story here.


March 2018: Woolly hats off to our great team who braved the snow to keep the Exeter laboratory open. Here is their innovative attempt to create more staff!



February 2018: The Exeter Monogenic Diabetes Training course was a great success. Over 100 delegates from 12 different countries attended the two day symposium where they learnt how to better diagnose and manage this condition. The role of HNF4A in congenital hyperinsulinism was discussed by Kevin Colclough and Maggie Shepherd during their presentations.

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January 2018: Our new paper describing a MAFA mutation in families with insulinomatosis and diabetes is receiving some good media attention. This important finding provides insights into the role of MAFA in the pancreatic beta cell. The early edition of the paper is freely available for download on the PNAS website.

January 2018: The HI Genes team kick off the new year by attending the University of Exeter’s Institute of Biomedical Sciences retreat held at the beautiful Dartington Hall. Sarah gave an overview of the team’s work and Tom presented a poster on the role of UCP2 in hyperinsulinism. The event provided a fantastic opportunity to form networks and new collaborations with others working in the field of molecular biology.



November 2017: We are supporting World Diabetes Day. Diabetes affects the lives of many individuals diagnosed with congenital hyperinsulinism. Up to 53% of individuals develop hyperglycaemia following near-total pancreatectomy and for some this will progress to insulin-treated diabetes. Individuals with dominantly inherited K-ATP channel mutations and hyperinsulinism due to a HNF4A mutation are also at increased risk of developing diabetes in early adulthood.


October 2017: The HIgenes team and it’s honorary members put on their running shoes to raise money for the Children’s Hyperinsulinism charity. We had over 25 runners from Exeter who ran either 5K, 10K or 21K. Thanks to everyone involved.


October 2017: Sarah attends the Endocrine First Global summit in Athens, Greece. This was a great opportunity to meet with collaborators and many of the lovely clinicians who refer patients to Exeter for genetic testing.


September 2017: The HI genes team, along with colleagues from the Diabetes and T2Diabetes genes teams, raised £87.62 to help support the work of a great charity aiming to improve the lives of children with genetic disorders.


August 2017: There is still plenty of time to sign up for Halloween HI-ke. A virtual 5K, 10K or half-marathon race. All proceeds go to the Hyperinsulinism Charity. It’s a fantastic cause so please help to support this if you can (See here for further details).



May 2017: Tom represents the HIgenes team at the EASD-Study Group on Genetics of Diabetes conference in Leiden. During the meeting Tom presented his work on investigating the role of variants in UCP2 in individuals with congenital hyperinsulinism.


Tom at the EASD-SGGD meeting in Leiden


March 2017: Ten months since its launch and we have received our 1000th visitor to the HIgenes website. We are always trying to improve the content of website so if you have any suggestions or comments please email them directly to


February 2017: Congenital Hyperinsulinism International release a behind the scenes video showing the process of genetic testing for Hyperinsulinism in the Exeter Laboratory. Click here to view the short video.


Visit YouTube to see the ‘Behind the Scenes’ clip on HI genetic testing in Exeter


February 2017: Anna Bussell, an MSc Student at the University of Exeter, has joined the HIgenes research group. Welcome to the team Anna!


Anna Bussell joins the HIgenes team


November 2016: To mark World Diabetes Day Sian describes the teams work researching the genetic causes of neonatal diabetes and hyperinsulinism for the University of Exeter Medical School Facebook page. To see the video click here.


September 2016: The HIgenes team had the pleasure of welcoming Julie Raskin, Davelyn Hood and Janna Pelle from Congenital Hyperinsulinism International to Exeter. After a tour of the laboratory and discussions around the research taking place in Exeter the team learnt about the great work being undertaken by CHI.

September 2016: Sian attends the Congenital Hyperinsulinism International Family Conference in Paris where she explains about the crucial role of genetics in this condition.

August 2016: Sarah talks to the Exeter Molecular Genetics Diagnostic team (those that do all of the hard work!) about the importance of genetic testing in individuals with congenital hyperinsulinism.


Hyperinsulinism training session for Exeter Molecular Genetics Team

June 2016: Sarah talks to the Genetic Diabetes Nurses at the Exeter study day on the role of HNF1A mutations in congenital hyperinsulinism.


Update on the role of HNF1A mutations in hyperinsulinism for genetics diabetes specialist nurses

April 2016: Sian and Sarah attend the 2016 ‘Congenital Hypoglycaemia Disorders: Hyperinsulinism and GSD’ professional conference hosted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Congenital Hyperinsulinism International (CHI) family day conference.

March 2016: Sarah explains her work on congenital hyperinsulinism to colleagues at the Living Systems Institute Research Symposium at the University of Exeter.


Sarah explains about the hyperinsulinism research that is being undertaken at the University of Exeter