Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

1. Regulation of cardiorespiratory function by the AMP-activated protein kinase
2. AMPK and pulmonary hypertension
3. Intracellular nanojunctions underpin the delivery of site- and function-specific calcium signals

Personal profile


Born and brought up in Hertfordshire, Professor Evans developed an interest in pharmacology when working as a research technician at Beecham Pharmaceuticals. He studied pharmacology at the University of Sunderland and graduated with a B.Sc. Honours 1st Class. He then studied for a Ph.D., under the supervision of Professor B. L. Ginsborg at Edinburgh’s Department of Pharmacology, which was awarded in 1990. This marked the beginning of Professor Evans’s investigations into the regulation by ion channels and calcium of cell and organ function.

Postdoctoral work followed, notably with Professor R. J. Martin at Edinburgh, which preceded a move to London. There, Professor Evans developed his interest in the regulation by oxygen of blood flow across the lungs. This led to a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship and the formation of his independent research group wat the Department of Pharmacology, University of Oxford. In 2001 he was appointed to a Lectureship at the University of St Andrews and was promoted to Reader in 2005. Professor Evans was then appointed Chair of Cellular Pharmacology at the University of Edinburgh in 2009.


H.N.C. with Distinction in Applied Biology

B.Sc. Honurs 1st Class in Pharmacology

Ph.D. in Pharmacology



Current Research Interests

We explore the mechamisms by which the body monitors and adjusts oxygen supply, and how maladaptive adjustments to deficits in oxygen supply may precipitate sleep disordered breathing and pulmonary hypertension. 

Research Interests

The current work of my laboratory is focussed on the processes that adjust cardio-respiratory function in response to a fall in oxygen supply (hypoxia), in the context of acute acclimation at altitude to sleep apnoea and pulmonary hypertension. In this respect we employ an integrative approach, learning from outcomes of experimental investigations on subcellular Ca2+ signalling, integration of cell and system responses and the behavioural response of the whole animal.

Our studies are specifically directed to developing our understanding of one cellular enzyme, the AMP-activated protein kinase, and two ion channel families, the ryanodine receptors and two pore channels, that we consider to be key components of the signalling pathways that inform cellular and system responses during hypoxia. We are exploring how these pathways govern cardiorespiratory adjustments in the short (seconds to minutes) and the longer term (hours to days) and the role in disease progression of maladaptive changes in their activities. In doing so we are addressing 4 key questions:


1) By which cellular and circuit mechanisms doe hypoxia increase the drive to breathe?


2) Which molecular mechanisms underpin the progression of pulmonary hypertension?


4) What impact might age and hormonal status have on cardiorespiratory outcomes, and how might this contribute to sleep apnoea, pulmonary hypertension and sudden infant death syndrome?


Addressing these questions is important because:


  1. 4% of middle-aged males (~2.5 million, UK) and 2% of middle-aged females (~1 million, UK) suffer from sleep apnoea (National Office of Statistics). In the USA the numbers are even higher, at 5-20% of adults (15-65 million). 
  2. ~15 per million people suffer from Idiopathic pulmonary hypertension, with a life expectancy of 6 months to 6 years  (World Health Organisation; Orte et al., 2000; Galie 2009a and b).
  3. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) accounts for 0.4 deaths per 1000 live births in the UK, and ~300 infant deaths per annum (Office for National Statistics). In the USA this rises to 2000 deaths per annum.

Research Groups

Centre for Integrative Physiology

Centre for Cardiovascular Research

Research students

Ms Sandy Hatmann

Ms Jingxian Duan

Ms Xinyue Cui

Previous Students and Postdocs

Dr Amira Mahmoud – Professor Andrew Baker’s group, Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Edinburgh.

Dr Nicholas P. Kinnear – Royal Bank of Scotland

Dr Peter Calcraft – Team Leader, Redx Oncology

Dr Michelle Dipp – CEO, Ovasicence


Collaborative Activity

Collaborations within CIP


  1. Dr Paul Skehel – Novel channelopathies driven by single nucleotide point mutations of the ryanodine receptor family.
  2. Professor Mayank Dutia – Ventilatory control during hypoxia.


Collaborations within the University but external to CIP


1. Ian Marshall, Clinical Brain Sciences – functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brainstem during hypoxia


Key external collaborators

  1. D. Grahame Hardie, University of Dundee. Cardiorespiratory control by LKB1-AMPK signaling pathway.
  2. Casey van Breemen, University of British Columbia. Cellular nanojunctions for site- and function-specific calcium signalling. 

My research in a nutshell

Oxygen sesning and supply in health and disease: from sleep anpoea to pulmonary hypertension


Honours Programme Organiser for Pharmacology, in which role I lead the development of this course. In addition I deliver lectures, in-course assessment and organise and oversee the delivery of course material by professionals from the private sector. In addition I lecture on Honuors elective courses (e.g. Integrative Physiology), the second year pharmacology course for chemisttry students (CP2), 1st year pre-clinical Medicine (MBCHB) and various M.Sc. courses.

Year 2 

Biomedical Sciences 2 

Cells to Organisms 2 

Chemical Pharmacology 2 


Year 3 

Biomedical Sciences 3 


Year 4 

Honours core programmes 

Honours Pharmacology 

Honours electives 

Integrative Physiology 



MBChB Year 1 


Postgraduate (MSc) 


Taught or Research MSc 

MSc by Research Biomedical Sciences (Life Sciences) 

MSc by Research Biomedical Sciences (Zhejiang) 


Administrative Roles

Honours Programme Organiser for Pharmacology

Member of the International Executive Committee, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicince

Member of the Board of Examiners for Honours Pharmacology

Undergraduate Tutor 

Office Hours

9am-8pm Monday to Thursday, 9am-5pm on Friday


Visiting and Research Positions

Post-dotoral Researchers

Dr Oluseye A. Ogunbayo

Dr Javier Moral-Sanz

Dr Jorge Navarro-Dorado

Previous Postdoctoral Researchers 

Professor Christopher N. Wyatt – Actin Chair of Biomedical Scinces, Wright State University, Ohio, USA

Dr Nicholas P. Kinnear – Royal Bank of Scotland

Dr Sophronia Lewis – Professor Megan Holmes group, Centre of cardiovascular sciences. 

Dr Jill Clark

Dr Ejaife Agbani

Dr Ryan Lewis

Dr Nicole Rafferty


Education/Academic qualification

Pharmacology, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Stimulus secretion coupling, University of Edinburgh

1 Oct 19871 Oct 1990

Award Date: 24 Jun 1990

Pharmacology, Bachelor of Science, Pharmacology, University of Sunderland

1 Oct 198430 Jun 1987

Award Date: 5 Nov 1987

External positions

Editor, Journal of Biological Chemistry

2012 → …


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