Molecular and Tissue Pharmacology Group

This cluster encompasses research on health, inflammation cancer and cardiovascular biology. It has particular expertise in primary cell isolation and culture ranging from vascular smooth muscle, endothelial and inflammatory cells, 3-D organoid and tumouroid models and gut and eye organotypic culture. Research advances are facilitated by considerable portfolio of funding from UKRI (BBSRC, Stokes, O’Connell, Warren), British Heart Foundation (Warren) and Diabetes UK (Warren) NNHCT (Sanderson).


  • Advances in vascular tissue pharmacology uncovering mechanisms of stem cells migration with therapeutic potential for restenosis and development of new drugs for patients with vascular diseases (Warren).
  • O’Connell along with multidisciplinary team of researchers (JIC and Ghent University) developed a novel plant transient transfection technology for rapid preparative access to plant-derived molecules.
  • Stokes identified ginsenosides as novel potent allosteric modulators of P2X7 channels that may account for some of the reported immune modulatory actions of protopanaxdiol ginsenosides in vivo (followed with a BBSRC-grant).
  • Sanderson demonstrated that human mesenchymal stem cells and platelet-derived growth factor provide significant protection to cells of the human retina, supporting observations seen in rodent models of optic nerve injury.
  • Sobolewski identified novel autocrine and paracrine signalling loops in the gut epithelium vital for maintaining gut homeostasis.
  • Mueller described a role for PKC and PKD in CXCL12 directed Prostate Cancer Migration.


This research cluster is led by Professor Maria O’Connell.