Edinburgh Research Explorer

Geoff Pearson

(Former employee or visitor)

Profile photo

Administrative Roles

Dean of Students, College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine (CMVM)

Director of Undergraduate Student Affairs, R(D)SVS

Academic Head Preclinical Veterinary Sciences, R(D)SVS


As College Dean of Students, Geoff is a member of the College Strategy Group, the Curriculum & Student Progression Committee, College UG Learning & Teaching Committee and the Student Support Service Quality Assurance Framework Group.  He is also a member of Senatus, Senior Tutor Network, and the Undergraduate Appeals Committee.

In R(D)SVS, Geoff heads the Student Support Management Group with overall responsibility for the academic and pastoral support of veterinary undergraduates and a focus on the student experience at the Dick.  Geoff is a member of the School Management Group and the Learning and Teaching Committee.


Summary of Career & Research:

1974-1981 BSc Hons Physiology, PhD Physiology, University of Dundee

1981-1984 Senior Research Assistant, MRC Secretory Control Research Group, University of Liverpool

1984-1989 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Pharmacology, University of Aberdeen

1989-2003 Lecturer in Mammalian Systems Physiology, R(D)SVS

1993 - Senior Lecturer, R(D)SVS

2016 - Dean of Students, College of Medecine & Veterinary Medicine



Geoff Pearson teaches mainly in the area of physiology and as Head of PVS has responsibility for the BVM&S teaching in the 1st year, 2nd year and Graduate Entry year.  

Research Interests

Geoff has focused on gastrointestinal function in large and small mammals with specialisms in the enteric nervous system, neurochemistry and the electrophysiological properties of smooth muscle. Geoff also has an involvement in some educational research projects.

PhD and Postdoctoral research:

In Dundee and Liverpool, his research concerned the neural control of the pancreas and the intracellular signalling mechanisms underlying its secretion.  Keynote discoveries in this work were non-cholinergic, non-adrenergic neural control of secretion in the guinea-pig pancreas and adrenergic nervous control of cyclic AMP-mediated secretion in the rat pancreas (Pearson et al. 1981 Nature; Pearson et al. 1984 Am J Physiol).

In Aberdeen, Geoff conducted research on the anatomy, physiology and neurochemistry of the enteric nervous system (ENS) in the guinea pig and rat small intestine.  A major achievement of this research was the definition of the properties of enteric neurones containing the neurotransmitters VIP, dynorphin and neuropeptide Y (Lees et al 1992, Eur J Morphol)


Geoff established studies of the ENS in large mammals and collaborated with clinical colleagues investigating the aetiology of Equine Dysautonomia (Grass Sickness). His work resulted in the first description of the anatomical and neurochemical properties of the ENS in the equine small intestine and the first electrophysiological recordings from enteric neurones in the pig small intestine (Pearson 1994 Cell Tissue Res, Thomsen et al. 1997 J Physiol). 

Later work addressed the role of Interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs) in the control of intestinal motility in healthy horses and horses with intestinal motility disorders.  Part of these studies included the first intracellular microelectrode recordings of electrical activity in the circular and longitudinal smooth muscle layers of the equine (and porcine) intestine (Hudson et al. 2001 Auton Neurosci, Fintl et al. 2004 J Anat, Hudson et al. 2006 Acta Physiol, Fintl et al. 2011 Equine Vet J).




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