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- Senior Lecturer
- Neuro, Physiology & Pharmacology
- Div of Biosciences
- Faculty of Life Sciences
After graduating BA in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge in 1972, I stayed there for a further three years studying for a PhD at the Institute of Animal Physiology, Babraham. I then held a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Munich for three years and spent just under a year at the University of Bristol before joining the Department of Physiology (now Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology) at UCL in 1979.
Steroid hormones have long been known to enter the mammalian nervous system to influence its development and function. More recently, some steroids have also been shown to be present in brain tissue independently of peripheral endocrine sources, the so-called neurosteroids. Altogether, these brain steroids are of profound physiological significance and apart from well-established sites of action through transcription factors are also known to have more rapid non-genomic effects at neurotransmitter receptors, such as those for γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate as well as σ-receptors and voltage-gated ion channels.
Despite the above background, little is known of the actual steroid content of the brain, of the relative contributions from peripheral versus central sources or of the metabolic pathways for steroid activation and inactivation in this tissue. Our research is focused on these issues. We have developed procedures for the extraction and fractionation of free steroids and their sulphate esters from brain tissue. For unequivocal identification, these steroids are then derivatised and analysed by gas capillary chromatography-electron impact mass spectrometry (in collaboration with Dr John W. Honour, Dept. of Chemical Pathology, UCLH). Routine measurements employ radioimmunoassays. Radiolabelled steroids are also employed to investigate steroid metabolism both in vitro and in vivo.
In addition to teaching Physiology to BSc and MBBS students I also took a lead in the development of and continue an active role in the delivery of the Natural Sciences BSc/MSci programme here at UCL. This programme enables students to follow courses to an advanced level in both the Faculty of Life Sciences and the Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences.
I am Chair of the Board of Examiners in Physiology.
|1977||PhD||Doctor of Philosophy – Neuropharmacology||University of Cambridge|
|1976||MA||Master of Arts – Natural Sciences||University of Cambridge|
|1972||BA Hons||Bachelor of Arts (Honours) – Natural Sciences||University of Cambridge|