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Dr. Gisela Helfer

Information about Dr. Gisela Helfer at the University of Bradford.

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Dr Gisela Helfer studied Biology and Zoology at the University of Salzburg, Austria. During her Master’s studies at the University of Salzburg, she investigated the neurobiology of learning and imprinting behaviour of Japanese quail chicks. After graduating, she moved to the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Andechs, Germany, where she initially worked on the hippocampal formation of migratory birds with Prof Ebo Gwinner and later on circadian rhythms in vertebrates. Here, Gisela found her love for science in general and chronobiology (the study of biological rhythms) in particular. From Andechs, she started her northwards journey, first to do a PhD at the University of Birmingham (UK) to work on circadian rhythms in birds and then to train as a postdoctoral fellow at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health at the University of Aberdeen (UK) with Prof Peter Morgan. At the Rowett Institute, she established novel concepts in molecular mechanisms and pathways regulating seasonal physiology. By combining in vivo studies with molecular biology including neuron-targeted viral gene delivery, she characterised and identified for the first-time pathways in the hypothalamus that control energy homeostasis and appetite regulation. Her work discovered a new role for Vitamin A in the brain. Downstream of Vitamin A signalling she identified a novel neuroendocrine role for the adipokine chemerin in cellular remodelling and neuronal plasticity within the hypothalamus. Six years of postdocing, three moves and two children later, she joined the University of Bradford, where she is now an Associate Professor in Physiology and Metabolism. In 2015, Gisela enjoyed sabbatical research at the Centre of Ornithology, University of Otago (NZ) and in 20018, she visited the Department of Physiology, University of Ontario, Canada to work with Prof Denise Belsham. As independent research group leader at the University of Bradford, she continues to work on chemerin molecular physiology in the hypothalamus and investigates circadian rhythms in energy balance regulation which has recently generated significant international recognition.


Dr Helfer’s main interests and areas of expertise are in neuroendocrinology and chronobiology. Her research so far has centred on the control of circadian rhythms and seasonality in vertebrates and this has recently led to investigations in the central regulation of growth and energy balance

Professional activities

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There are 1 publications involving or that are attributed to Dr. Gisela Helfer.

Uncategorised publications

Dr. Gisela Helfer has 1 publication(s) listed under uncategorised publications.
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