AKC Seminar: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Insulin Resistance & Exercise: A journey from bench top to bedside

August Krogh Club Seminar

Professor Nigel Stepto PhD AEP ESSAM

Deputy Director of Research Training, Institute of Health and Sport; Professor of Clinical Exercise Science - College of Sports and Exercise Science; Accredited Exercise Physiologist; VUResearch Fellow; Honorary Research Fellow Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI Associate Investigator and Member of the NHMRC CRE in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome; Project Director Australian Insitute for Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS).


Between 6-10% of women have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) which carries a major health burden across metabolic, mental and reproductive health. PCOS is under-recognised by health professionals, it is not a major national priority area, and considered an uncommon disease. Yet, PCOS leaves women on track for a plethora of diverse, often chronic conditions ranging from anxiety and depression, infertility, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and pregnancy complications to cardiovascular disease and stroke.

PCOS is becoming more severe as the population gains weight as obesity exacerbates all health outcomes. More concerning is for women with PCOS is that we don’t fully understand the aetiology of the syndrome and we have no optimal treatments. In this talk I will explore the aetiology and molecular mechanisms of insulin resistance, before exploring the evidence for exercise therapy in PCOS.


Cassar S, Misso M, Shaw CS, Hopkins WG, Teede HJ Stepto NK. Factors Contributing to Insulin Resistance in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Human Reproduction 2016 31(11)2619-2631.

Cassar S, Teede HJ, Harrison CL, Joham AE, Moran LJ, Stepto NK. Biomarkers and insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS: Characteristics and Predictive Capacity. Clinical Endocrinology. 2015 Jul;83(1):50-8.

Stepto NK, Cassar S, Hutchison S, Harrison CL, Joham A, Goldstein R, Teede HJ.  Women with PCOS have an intrinsic insulin resistance on euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamps. Hum Reprod. 2013; Mar; 28(3):777-84.

Hutchison SK, Stepto NK, Harrison CL, Moran LJ, Strauss BJ and Teede HJ.  Effects of Exercise on Insulin Resistance and Body Composition in Overweight and Obese Women with and without Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2011 Jan;96(1):E48-56.

Brief CV

Professor Nigel Stepto completed a substantial proportion of his studies at the University of Cape Town South Africa before completing his PhD at RMIT University in 2002. He joined Victoria University in 2007 after working at Monash University. He holds honorary appointments at Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI) and the Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS).

Prof Stepto, while having a substantive teaching load in the Exercise Science and Clinical Exercise Science courses at Victoria University, he is servicing patients and actively undertaking basic and mechanistic, and clinical research in exploring impacts of exercise training in health and disease.

His work aims to understand aetiologies of metabolic and endocrine diseases from the perspective of dysfunctional skeletal muscle and understanding how exercise therapy can be used to address these metabolic and endocrine disorders, specifically Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). 

This work encompasses many disciplines including molecular biology and biochemistry, cell biology, muscle physiology and clinical trials and implementation science and is supported by many national and international collaborations. This work has resulted in 71 publications with >3000 citations. 

He obtained significant research income from NHMRC (project grants (CI) and Centre of Research Excellence (AI)), Diabetes Australia and other sources. He has developed expertise in research translation and implementation in lifestyle therapy in PCOS, serving on a national and international guideline development groups, contributing to the translation and implementation of research into practice via evidence synthesis, advocacy and dissemination of these guidelines to patients and healthcare practitioners.

Overall Prof Stepto’s career has been driven by a passion to understand complex diseases and explore the role of exercise in prevention and treatment of these diseases.  To achieve these goals he leads a growing team of dynamic early career researchers and research students (PhD, masters, honours and undergraduates) in work that extends from benchtop to bedside and back. 


31 May 2018

14:00-15:00: Seminar and discussion
15:00-16:30: Post seminar servings and socializing


Auditorium 2, August Krogh Building, Universitetsparken 13, DK-2100 Copenhagen


Participation is free, but please register here.

For PhD students

PhD students participating in August Krogh seminars receive 0,2 ECTS per seminar


Jonas Møller Kristensen, jmkristensen@nexs.ku.dk, phone +45 3533 4776

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