Prof Simon Heller

Professor of Clinical Diabetes

Prof. Simon Heller

Academic Unit of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism
Room EU38, E Floor
School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Beech Hill Road
S10 2RX
Tel: +44 (0)114 271 3204+44 (0)114 271 3204
Secretary, Laura Phelen: +44 (0)114 271 2095+44 (0)114 271 2095
Fax: +44 (0)114 271 2475

Research Interests

Our group´s interests concern clinical research, focussing on clinical investigation involving varied topics with the common theme of immediate relevance to patients with diabetes. These include aspects of the pathophysiology of hypoglycaemia in diabetes, the contribution of hypoglycaemia to the increased risk of sudden death in young people with Type 1 diabetes (the 'dead in bed' syndrome), the clinical benefits of insulin analogues and trials of complex interventions to enable more effective self-management in people with diabetes.

Our observation that hypoglycaemia unawareness is caused by repeated episodes of hypoglycaemia has led to programmes of unawareness reversal and restoration of hypoglycaemic symptoms in patients with Type 1 diabetes. We have also recently completed a national multicentre project funded by the Dept for Transport exploring the incidence of hypoglycaemia in Type 2 diabetes to inform decisions on motor vehicle licensing.

We were the principal investigators for the multi-centre DAFNE trial and lead a national programme of research exploring different facets of the DAFNE education programme. We are one of the lead investigators for the ongoing DESMOND trial and lead a national multicentre trial measuring the benefit of blood glucose monitoring in those with newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes.

Activities and Distinctions

  • 1998-2002 Member of Medical Research Council Physiological Medicine and Infections Board
  • 1999-2002 Member of Medical Research Council Health Services and Public Health Research Board
  • 2000-2004 Editor in Chief, Diabetic Medicine
  • 2004-present Member of Medical Research Council College of Experts
  • 2005-present Member of Diabetes UK Research Committee
  • 2006-present Chair Clinical Studies Advisory Group of UKCRN Diabetes Research Network
  • 2006-present Director R & D Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • 2007-present Member of Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International Medical Scientific Review Committee

Representative Publications

DAFNE Study Group. Training in flexible, intensive insulin management to enable dietary freedom in people with type 1 diabetes: dose adjustment for normal eating (DAFNE) randomised controlled trial. Br Med J 2002;325:746-749.

Robinson RT, Harris ND, Ireland RH, Lee S, Newman C, Heller SR. Mechanisms of abnormal cardiac repolarization during insulin-induced hypoglycemia. Diabetes 2003;52:1469-1474.

Lee SP, Yeoh L, Harris ND, Davies CM, Robinson RT, Leathard A, et al. Influence of autonomic neuropathy on QTc interval lengthening during hypoglycemia in type 1 diabetes. Diabetes 2004;53:1535-1542.

Pedersen-Bjergaard U, Pramming S, Heller SR, Wallace TM, Rasmussen AK, Jorgensen HV, et al. Severe hypoglycaemia in 1076 adult patients with type 1 diabetes: influence of risk markers and selection. Diabetes Metab Res Rev 2004;20:479-486.

Robinson RT, Harris ND, Ireland RH, Macdonald IA, Heller SR. Changes in cardiac repolarization during clinical episodes of nocturnal hypoglycaemia in adults with Type 1 diabetes. Diabetologia 2004;47:312-315.

Lee SP, Harris ND, Robinson RT, Davies C, Ireland R, Macdonald IA, et al. Effect of atenolol on QTc interval lengthening during hypoglycaemia in type 1 diabetes. Diabetologia 2005;48:1269-1272.

Kolendorf K, Ross GP, Pavlic-Renar I, Perriello G, Philotheou A, Jendle J, Gall M-A, Heller SR. Insulin detemir lowers the risk of hypoglycaemia and provides more consistent plasma glucose levels compared to NPH insulin in Type 1 diabetes. Diabetic Medicine 2006;23:729-735.

McNally PG, Dean JD, Morris AD, Wilkinson PD, Compion G, Heller SR. Using continuous glucose monitoring to measure the frequency of low glucose values when using biphasic insulin aspart 30 compared with biphasic human insulin 30. A double-blind crossover study in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2007;30:1044-1048.

The UK Hypoglycaemia Study Group. Risk of hypoglycaemia in types 1 and 2 diabetes: effects
of treatment modalities and their duration. Diabetologia 2007;50:1140-1147.

Patel A, MacMahon S, Chalmers J, Neal B, Woodward M, Billot L, Harrap S, Poulter N, Marre M, Cooper M, Glasziou P, Grobbee DE, Hamet P, Heller S, Liu LS, Mancia G, Mogensen CE, Pan CY, Rodgers A, Williams B. Effects of a fixed combination of perindopril and indapamide on macrovascular and microvascular outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (the ADVANCE trial): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2007;370:829-840.

Current Grants

Irish Health Board. April 2006-March 2009. Implementing and evaluating a structured education programme and a new model of ongoing care for Type 1 diabetes in Ireland. In collaboration with Dr S Dinneen, Dr H Courtney, Dr D O´Shea, Prof CP Bradley, Dr K Murphy, Prof E O´Shea, Ms D Casey, Dr J Lawton, Ms F Brown, Dr J Newell. 1m euros.

STH Special Trustees. April 2006-March 2008. Exploring abnormal cardiac repolarization during hypoglycaemia in Type 1 diabetes. Principal Investigator in collaboration with Dr C Newman. £20,000.

Diabetes UK. May 2006-April 2009. Does self monitoring of blood glucose as opposed to urinalysis provide additional benefit to newly diagnosed individuals with Type 2 diabetes receiving structured education? Principal Investigator in collaboration with Dr M Carey, Dr M Davies, Prof M Campbell, Dr S Dixon, Dr C Skinner, Dr H Dallasso, Dr E Pitchforth. £350,000.

Diabetes UK. October 2006-September 2008. Exploring abnormal cardiac repolarization during hypoglycaemia in Type 1 diabetes. Principal Investigator in collaboration with Dr C Newman, Prof Ian Macdonald. £124,000.

National Institute of Health Research, Programme Grant October 2007-September 2112. Improving management of Type 1 diabetes in the UK: the DAFNE programme as a research test-bed. Principal Investigator in collaboration with Dr J Lawton, Dr M Clarke, Ms G Thompson, Prof S Amiel, Prof M Campbell, Dr P Mansell, Dr I Lawrence, Ms C Taylor, Ms L Oliver. £1.8m.