Dr Havovi Chichger

Course Leader for MSc Applied Bioscience

Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science

Faculty:Faculty of Science & Technology

Department:Biomedical and Forensic Science

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Life sciences

Havovi’s primary research focuses on cellular mechanisms which regulate the endothelium in human disease.

View Havovi's profile on Research Gate


In 2011, Havovi earned her doctorate in physiology from University College London, which focused on studying the role of renal and small intestinal glucose transport across the epithelium in metabolic syndrome and diabetes. During her studies, she developed an interest in the microvasculature complications associated with diabetes and took advantage of the opportunity to perform postdoctoral research at the Vascular Research Laboratory in Brown University.

As a postdoctoral fellow, Havovi's research developed into vascular dysfunction in settings of disease including respiratory disease. During her postdoctorate, she was awarded significant funding from the American Heart Association, published several peer-reviewed articles and participated in numerous clinical and basic research conference presentations (including invited and peer-reviewed oral presentations) on renal glucose transport, endocytosis, vascular function and respiratory disease.

Research interests

  • Physiological roles of bitter and sweet taste receptors
  • Renal and small intestinal glucose transport across the epithelium (diabetes, metabolic syndrome)
  • Mechanisms regulated by artificial sweeteners and sweet taste receptors (diabetes, pulmonary diseases)
  • Endosomal trafficking in the vasculature (pulmonary diseases)
  • Protein phosphatase (PTP and SHP2) signalling (pulmonary diseases)
  • Protein kinases (PKC and MAPK) signalling (diabetes, pulmonary diseases)
  • Novel mechanisms regulating microvascular complications (diabetes, pulmonary diseases)
  • Molecular mechanisms which link the gut microbiota and gastric permeability

Areas of research supervision

  • First supervisor for PhD student – Aparna Shil who is studying the effect of intestinal sweet taste receptors on the gut microbiota and gastric permeability (Jan 2016 to present)
  • First supervisor for PhD student – Emmanuella Enuwosa who is studying the effect of taste receptors on the retinal and glomerular microvasculature (Apr 2016 to present)
  • Third supervisor for PhD student – Janay Gibbons who is studying the role of lipids in insulin signalling (supervisory role from Apr 2015 to present)
  • First supervisor for Wellcome Trust Vacation studentship – Polina Lizunkova who studied the effect of artificial sweeteners on retinal endothelial cell function (June to August 2016)


MSc Applied Bioscience
Course Leader

BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science
Senior Lecturer


  • PGCert in Higher Education and Learning, Anglia Ruskin University
  • Teaching excellence certificate, Sheridan Centre, Brown University
  • PhD Physiology, University College London
  • BSc Biochemistry, King’s College London

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Professional member, Diabetes UK, 2015-present
  • Member, European Association for the Study of Diabetes, 2015-present
  • Early Career Member, American Heart Association, 2012-present
  • Member, American Physiological Society, 2012-present
  • Member, American Thoracic Society, 2012-present
  • Member, Editorial Board for Respiratory Care, 2014-present
  • Ad-hoc reviewer for 12 journals including Microvascular Research, Science Translational Medicine, Pulmonary Circulation and Journal of Cellular Physiology

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation scholarship for Polina Lizunkova – June-August 2016 - Artificial sweeteners reduce vascular permeability leading to diabetic retinopathy, through sweet taste receptor signalling pathways - £2000 (stipend)
  • Diabetes UK Early Career Research grant – January 2016-January 2017 - Artificial sweeteners reduce diabetes-induced vascular permeability through sweet taste receptor signalling pathways - £14,937
  • American Heart Association postdoctoral fellowship – July 2013-April 2015 - Mechanisms regulating the pulmonary endothelium through VE-cadherin trafficking - £100,000

Selected recent publications

Chichger H, Cleasby M, Srai KS, Debnam ES, Unwin R.J, Marks J. Differential regulation of renal glucose transporters: Implications for diabetic nephropathy. Experimental Physiology. (2016) 101 (6):731-42. Link

Chichger H, Braza J, Duong H, Boni G, Harrington EO.  Select Rab GTPases regulate the pulmonary endothelium via endosomal trafficking of VE-cadherin.  American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. (2016) 54 (6):739-81. Link

Chichger H, Braza J, Duong H, Stark M, Harrington EO. Neovascularization in the pulmonary endothelium is regulated by the endosome: Rab4-mediated trafficking and p18-dependent signaling.  American Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology. (2015) 309 (7):L700. Link

Chichger H, Vang A, O’Connell K, Zhang P, Harrington EO, Mende U, Choudhary G.  PKC δ and βII Regulate Angiotensin II Mediated Fibrosis through p38: A Mechanism of RV Fibrosis in Pulmonary Hypertension.  American Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology. (2015) 308 (8):L827-36. Link

Chichger H, Braza J, Duong H, Harrington EO. p18, a novel adaptor protein, regulates pulmonary endothelial barrier function via enhanced endocytic recycling of VE-cadherin. FASEB J. (2015) 29 (3):868-81. Link

Chichger H, Braza J, Duong H, Harrington EO. SHP2 and FAK protein interactions regulate pulmonary endothelium barrier function. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. (2015) 52 (6):695-707. Link

Jacquillet G, Chichger H, Unwin RJ, Shirley DG.  Luminal proteolytic activation of the collecting duct epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) and its possible role in renal sodium reabsorption in vivo.  Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation. (2013) 28 (4):839-45. Link

Recent presentations and conferences

Artificial Sweetener Sucralose Protects the Pulmonary Endothelium from LPS-induced permeability. American Thoracic Society conference, San Francisco, May 2016.

Endosomal proteins p18 and Rab4 are differentially regulated in pulmonary hypertension and COPD/emphysema. American Thoracic Society conference, San Francisco, May 2016.

Novel Regulation of the Pulmonary Endothelium. Cambridge Cardiovascular Research Seminar, Cambridge University, October 2015.

The Endosome in Pulmonary Disease. Rhode Island Hospital Clinical Pulmonary Seminar, Brown University, February 2015.

A Role for the Endosome in Angiogenesis: Implications for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. Vascular Research Laboratory Seminar, Providence Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Providence, RI, October 2014.

Endocytic Trafficking in Sweet Taste Sensing. Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, England, February 2014.

PKCβII and δ regulate right ventricular fibrosis through p38 activation. Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC), Brown University, November 2013.

FAK-SHP2 interplay regulates the Adherens Junction. Experimental Biology, Boston, April 2013.

Over 30 published abstracts from conferences in journals ranging from Proceedings of the Physiological Society, Journal of American Society of Nephrology, Genes & Nutrition, FASEB Journal and American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Media experience

May 2016: several media outlets, including TIME magazine, Independent newspaper and Science daily online, covered research from the Experimental Physiology publication based on the role of the junk-food diet on kidney function. 

10th May 2016: interview on KCBS radio (USA) regarding the Experimental Physiology publication.