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Recent projects & dissertation

Recent research project titles in Part II Pharmacology

The department offers a wide range of research projects, which are undertaken during the Lent Term. Below are a selection of the projects offered in 2016/17. The subheadings are fairly arbitrary – many projects have clear impact in a range of areas – but hopefully convey the breadth of research topics available.

Understanding receptors

  • The role of intracellular loop 1 of the adenosine A2a receptor in mediating signalling bias
  • Biased agonists of the Apelin receptor
  • RAMP-directed signalling bias of the calcitonin-receptor-like receptor
  • Visualizing activation-induced structural changes in ionotropic glutamate receptors using AFM imaging

Intracellular signalling

  • Repurposing known drugs as inhibitors of the store-operated calcium entry pathway
  • How do intracellular Ca2+ stores refill?
  • Calcium responses underlying Insulin-like peptide 5 signalling in mouse colonic epithelium
    • Effects of fluoride on ion transport in epithelial cell monolayers


  • Characterisation of sensory neurones using retrograde tracing
  • Role of Ca2+ signals in chemotaxis of glioma cells

Cardiovascular pharmacology

  • The effect of shear stress on the prothrombotic responses of the endothelium
  • Cl- -sensing properties of WNK4 modulates K+ homeostasis in the distal nephron
  • ‘Surfing the PHOME’: extending and probing the druggable platelet proteome
  • Elucidating the mechanisms underlying neutrophil recruitment to the vascular endothelium
  • Novel vasoactive peptides and cardio-metabolic function

Cancer pharmacology

  • Novel approaches for the inhibition and degradation of intracellular protein targets associated with pancreatic and colorectal cancers
  • Investigating the biology of BCL11A in basal-like breast cancer
  • Searching for modifiers of Aurora kinase stability using tandem fluorescent protein tags

Antibacterial pharmacology

  • Evaluating the intrinsic mammalian toxicity of some molecules that inhibit lipoteichoic acid synthase of Gram-positive bacteria
    • Transport mechanism of a multidrug transporter from Vibrio cholera

Recent pharmacology dissertation titles offered in Part II BBS


The department offers a wide range of dissertation titles for students taking Part II BBS. Below are some examples of titles offered in 2016/17. The subheadings are somewhat arbitrary, but hopefully convey the wide scope of themes on offer and the huge importance of pharmacology to biomedical science.

New therapeutic strategies

  • Therapeutic potential of intrabodies
  • Targeting protein-protein interactions as a therapeutic strategy
  • The use of pluripotent stem cells in regenerative medicine
  • Quantitative systems pharmacology – is this the future of drug discovery?
  • Is germline CRISPR editing ready for the clinic?
  • Impact of big data on drug R&D and healthcare
  • Targeting virulence as a potential strategy for combating pathogenic bacteria
  • Pharmacological chaperones and their application in treating diseases

Challenging the dogma

  • Is aspirin a useful anti-thrombotic?
  • Are SSRIs really competitive inhibitors of SERT?
  • What are the mechanisms of drug entry in cells and tissues?
  • The relative significance of drugs and diet in influencing plasma lipid levels?

Understanding disease to guide therapy

  • The amyloid hypothesis and potential treatments for neurodegenerative diseases
  • Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes
  • The role of neutrophils in arterial thrombosis
  • What are the links between hypoxia and neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease)?
  • Is chronic visceral pain a manifestation of central or peripheral processes?
  • Bacterial host interactions in the development of chronic visceral pain: does early life exposure to pathogen influence pain sensitivity in adulthood?
  • Bacterial host interactions in cystic fibrosis

From molecular mechanism to drug target

  • Targeted degradation of CFTR: prospects for therapeutic interventions in CF
  • Duel glucagon and glucagon-like peptide 1 agonists as new treatments for type II diabetes
  • The structure of the exocytotic fusion pore
  • How do SNAREs mediate membrane fusion?
  • Trapping pain with TRPs: are TRP channels good targets for alleviating pain?
    • Pharmacological intervention in the cell cycle.
    • Lipid transporters in health and disease
    • Store-operated calcium entry pathway as a potential therapeutic target