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Success for Dr Kerstin Timm with AMS Springboard grant


Dr Kerstin Timm in the Department of Pharmacology has been announced as one of the latest round of PIs to secure an AMS Springboard Award. The AMS Springboard award is highly competitive and is intended for new independent researchers in biomedical sciences, who have been in their role for less than 4 years and have not received more than £150,000 in grant money. The Springboard award thus allows new PIs to launch a new independent program of research, and awards are made for up to £100,000 over 2 years.

John Parrington launches ‘Mind Shift: How culture transformed the human brain’


A new book is published this week by Oxford University Press written by Associate Professor John Parrington. ‘Mind Shift’ draws on new scientific evidence to offer a substantive material explanation of self-conscious awareness in humans.

Vasudevan lab identifies novel means of improving sensitivity and efficiency for PCR COVID testing

Department Vasudevan Group

In collaboration with the infectious disease units at the John Radcliffe and Churchill Hospitals, the Vasudevan lab has identified a novel means of improving RT-qPCR sensitivity and efficiency for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 through the concentration of pooled patient lysates.

International collaboration by Potter group uncovers vital element in regulation of Na⁺/K⁺- ATPase-α1


An international collaboration of the Potter Group with Solomon Snyder’s Group in the USA and with Chinese and German colleagues has uncovered the myo-inositol polyphosphate pyrophosphate 5-InsP7 as a regulator of the Na⁺/K⁺- ATPase-α1

Professor Angela Russell receives 2021 Harrington UK Rare Disease Scholar Award

Department Russell Group

Angela Russell, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the Oxford Departments of Pharmacology and Chemistry, has been announced as one of the five recipients of the inaugural UK Rare Disease Scholar Award, presented by the Harrington Discovery Institute (HDI).

Professor Fran Platt appointed as new Head of Department of Pharmacology


Professor Fran Platt has been appointed as the new Head of Department for Pharmacology at the University of Oxford. Fran took up her new post with effect from 1 June 2020 and will serve for an initial period of five years.

New Garland/Dora group paper provides a novel mechanism for the vasospasm underlying cardiovascular disease

The Vascular Pharmacology group has published a paper in Hypertension showing that loss of nitric oxide production by endothelial cells, a ubiquitous feature of cardiovascular disease, raises the electrical excitability of arterial smooth muscle by recruiting T-type voltage-gated calcium channels. This change switches physiological vasomotion to pathological vasospasm.

The Department mourns the loss of three greats in neuropharmacology


This summer three of the world’s most distinguished neurochemists died; each was a member of the Department during their outstanding scientific careers.

Professor Fran Platt secures £1M funding over two years for vital Parkinson's Disease research, in collaboration with Pfizer


There is an increasing body of genetic and biochemical evidence that points toward lysosomal dysfunction as a risk factor for developing age-related neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Optical method to study interaction between sympathetic nerves and heart muscle

Research led by Associate Professor Rebecca Burton at Oxford, together with Associate Professor Gil Bub at McGill University (Canada) and Professor Emilia Entcheva at George Washington University (USA), has demonstrated a purely optical method that makes it possible to stimulate cells and to directly observe both the effects of spatial distribution and functional connectivity between neurons and heart muscle cells. This model system provides a unique window into the relationship between the tissue health, neuron density and the excitability of the heart muscle. These insights are particularly relevant to understanding complications that arise after damage to the heart tissue, such as potentially lethal heart arrhythmias after a heart attack.

New Galione group paper explores the role for early Ca2+ signals in phagocytosis


The Galione Lab has a paper published in The EMBO Journal showing that local Ca2+‐nanodomains formed by two‐pore channels (TPCs) on endo-lysosomes are shown to drive phagocytosis in macrophages. Moreover, different endo-lysosomal Ca2+ channels do different jobs at phagocytosis (extreme compartmentation).

Nafamostat to be evaluated as potential treatment for COVID-19

Department Research

Daniel Anthony, Professor of Experimental Neuropathology in the Department of Pharmacology, is the scientific lead in a joint research team running a new clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness for the treatment of COVID-19 of Nafamostat. This existing medicine, manufactured by Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, is a well-established treatment in Japan for pancreatitis. The company has generously donated supplies of Nafamostat for the initial clinical evaluation.

Interdisciplinary project could lead to a personalised approach for mood stabilisation for bipolar patients

The Vasudevan laboratory, in an interdisciplinary project with scientists and clinicians, across the Department of Psychiatry, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Warneford Hospital, Department of Pathology, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, and the Oxford StemBANCC, have used bipolar patient-derived fibroblasts to gain a deeper understanding into patient circadian rhythms, and how these rhythmic changes could predict lithium sensitivity in bipolar disorder.

BDNF-TRKB signalling is pivotal for the sequential maturation of intrinsic hippocampal circuits

The Minichiello laboratory through an excellent interdisciplinary collaborative effort, particularly with the laboratories of Prof E. Cherubini at the European Brain Research Institute (EBRI) in Rome, Italy, and Prof JM. Delgado-García at the University Pablo de Olavide, Seville, Spain, have now uncovered a novel essential role for BDNF-TrkB signalling in driving sequential maturation of intrinsic hippocampal circuits. They show the in vivo consequences of Ntrk2/Trkb selective deletion at a time-sensitive window both on postnatal development and adult brain.

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