Prof Gregory Cooney

Prof Gregory Cooney

Lab Head - Insulin Action and Energy Metabolism

Senior Principal Research Fellow

Conjoint/Adjunct Role(s)

Conjoint Professor, St Vincent's Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Australia

Greg Cooney completed his PhD at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Sydney in 1980 and from 1980 to 1984 worked as a Departmental Demonstrator in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, UK. There he developed an interest in the role of thermogenic brown adipose tissue in energy balance and the development of obesity. Greg returned to Sydney in 1985 to work in the Department of Endocrinology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on the biochemical mechanisms involved in the development of obesity and insulin resistance.

He joined the Diabetes Group at the Garvan Institute in 1997 to continue examination of the links between obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Greg is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Conjoint Professor at the University of New South Wales. He is an author on more that 140 original papers and review articles in peer-reviewed journals dealing with mechanisms of obesity-induced insulin resistance. He has been a Senior Editor for the Journal of Endocrinology, has served as an Associate Editor and on the Advisory Board of the journal Diabetologia and is a member of the Editorial Board of Diabetes and the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Greg has served on the Council of the Australasian Society for the Study of Obesity acting as Honorary Treasurer of the Society.  He has also been a councillor, Treasurer and Vice President of the Australian Diabetes Society.

Research Interests

Obesity and insulin action
Glucose and fat metabolism
Muscle metabolism
Circadian rhythms and metabolism

Awards and Honours

NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
1980 - Eleanor Sophia Wood Travelling Fellowship
1975 - Roslyn Flora Goulston Prize for Biochemistry


1980 - PhD, University of Sydney - Australia
1976 - BSc (Hons I), University of Sydney - Australia

Selected Publications

Turner N, Kowalski GM, Leslie SJ, Risis S, Yang C, Lee-Young RS, Babb JR, Meikle PJ, Lancaster GI, Henstridge DC, White PJ, Kraegen EW, Marette A, Cooney GJ, Febbraio MA, Bruce CR. Distinct patterns of tissue-specific lipid accumulation during the induction of insulin resistance in mice by high-fat feeding. Diabetologia. 2013; 56 (7): 1638-48.

Montgomery MK, Hallahan NL, Brown SH, Liu M, Mitchell TW, Cooney GJ, Turner N. Mouse strain-dependent variation in obesity and glucose homeostasis in response to high-fat feeding. Diabetologia. 2013; 56:1129-39.

Reznick J, Preston E, Wilks DL, Beale SM, Turner N, Cooney GJ. Altered feeding differentially regulates circadian rhythms and energy metabolism in liver and muscle of rats. Biochim. Biophys. Acta-Molecular Basis of Disease 2013; 1832(1): 228-38.

Holt LJ, Turner N, Mokbel N, Trefely S, Kanzleiter T, Kaplan W, Ormandy CJ, Daly RJ, Cooney GJ. Grb10 regulates the development of fiber number in skeletal muscle. FASEB J. 2012; 26:3658-69.

Wright LE, Brandon AE, Hoy AJ, Forsberg GB, Lelliott CJ, Reznick J, Lofgren L, Oscarsson J, Stromstedt M, Cooney GJ, Turner N.  Amelioration of lipid-induced insulin resistance in rat skeletal muscle by overexpression of Pgc-1beta involves reductions in long-chain acyl-CoA levels and oxidative stress Diabetologia 2011; 54(6): 1417-26.

Kanzleiter T, Preston E, Wilks D, Ho B, Benrick A, Reznick J, Heilbronn LK, Turner N, Cooney GJ.  Overexpression of the orphan receptor Nur77 alters glucose metabolism in rat muscle cells and rat muscle in vivo. Diabetologia  2010; 53(6):1174-83.

Hoehn KL, Turner N, Swarbrick MM, Wilks D, Preston E, Phua Y, Joshi H, Furler SM, Larance M, Hegarty BD, Leslie SJ, Pickford R, Hoy AJ, Kraegen EW, James DE, Cooney GJ.  Acute or chronic upregulation of mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation has no net effect on whole-body energy expenditure or adiposity. Cell Metab  2010; 11(1): 70-76.

Hoehn KL, Salmon AB, Hohnen-Behrens C, Turner N, Hoy AJ, Maghzal GJ, Stocker R, Van Remmen H, Kraegen EW, Cooney GJ, Richardson AR, James DE. Insulin resistance is a cellular antioxidant defense mechanism. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2009; 106(42):17787-92.

Turner N, Hariharan K, TidAng J, Frangioudakis G, Beale SM, Wright LE, Zeng XY, Leslie SJ, Li JY, Kraegen EW, Cooney GJ, Ye JM.  Enhancement of muscle mitochondrial oxidative capacity and alterations in insulin action are lipid species dependent: potent tissue-specific effects of medium-chain fatty acids.  Diabetes. 2009; 58(11): 2547-54.

Bruce CR, Hoy AJ, Turner N, Watt MJ, Allen TL, Carpenter K, Cooney GJ, Febbraio MA, Kraegen EW. Overexpression of carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 in skeletal muscle is sufficient to enhance fatty acid oxidation and improve high-fat diet-induced insulin resistance. Diabetes. 2009; 58(3):550-8.

Kanzleiter T, Wilks D, Preston E, Ye JM, Frangioudakis G, Cooney GJ.  Regulation of the nuclear hormone receptor nur77 in muscle: Influence of exercise-activated pathways in vitro and obesity in vivo.  Biochim Biophys Acta-Molecular Basis Of Disease.  2009; 1792 (8): 777-782.

Frangioudakis G, Cooney GJ.  Acute elevation of circulating fatty acids impairs downstream insulin signalling in rat skeletal muscle in vivo independent of effects on stress signalling.  J Endocrinol 2008; 197(2), 277-85.

Holt LJ, Lyons RJ, Ryan AS, Beale SM, Ward A, Cooney GJ, Daly RJ. Dual ablation of Grb10 and Grb14 in mice reveals their combined role in regulation of insulin signaling and glucose homeostasis. Mol Endocrinol. 2009; 23(9):1406-14.

Turner N, Bruce CR, Beale SM, Hoehn KL, So T, Rolph MS, Cooney GJ.  Excess lipid availability increases mitochondrial fatty acid oxidative capacity in muscle: evidence against a role for reduced fatty acid oxidation in lipid-induced insulin resistance in rodents.  Diabetes. 2007; 56 (8), 2085-92.

Cleasby ME, Reinten TA, Cooney GJ, James DE, Kraegen EW. Functional studies of Akt isoform specificity in skeletal muscle in vivo; maintained insulin sensitivity despite reduced insulin receptor substrate-1 expression.  Mol Endocrinol.  2007; 21 (1) 215-28.

Bruce CR, Brolin C, Turner N, Cleasby ME, van der Leij FR, Cooney GJ, Kraegen, E.W.  Overexpression of carnitine palmitoyltransferase I in skeletal muscle in vivo increases fatty acid oxidation and reduces triacylglycerol esterification.  Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab.  2007; 292 (4) E1231-7.

Molero JC, Turner N, Thien CB, Langdon WY, James DE, Cooney GJ. Genetic Ablation of the c-Cbl Ubiquitin Ligase Domain Results in Increased Energy Expenditure and Improved Insulin Action. Diabetes. 2006; 55:3411-7.

Parkes HA, Preston E, Wilks D, Ballesteros M, Carpenter L, Wood L, Kraegen EW, Furler SM, Cooney GJ. Overexpression of acyl-CoA synthetase-1 increases lipid deposition in hepatic (HepG2) cells and rodent liver in vivo. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2006; 291:E737-44.

Frangioudakis G, Ye JM, Cooney GJ. Both saturated and n-6 polyunsaturated fat diets reduce phosphorylation of IRS-1 and PKB in muscle during the initial stages of in vivo insulin stimulation. Endocrinology. 2005; 146:5596-603.

Cleasby ME, Davey JR, Reinten TA, Graham MW, James DE, Kraegen EW, Cooney GJ. Acute bidirectional manipulation of muscle glucose uptake by in vivo electrotransfer of constructs targeting glucose transporter genes. Diabetes, 2005; 54:2702-11. 

Prof Gregory Cooney