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Professor Emeritus Philippa Darbre – University of Reading

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Professor Emeritus Philippa Darbre


Professor Emeritus


Dr Philippa Darbre


  • Funding from the Breast Cancer Research Trust
  • Molecular and cellular mechanisms of action of oestrogen and oestrogen-mimicking chemicals in human breast cancer cells
  • Studying cellular and molecular mechanisms by which human breast cancer cells escape from oestrogen regulation of cell proliferation as a model system for investigating the clinical problem of loss of response to endocrine therapy in breast cancer
  • Focus on the effects of long-term low-dose environmental chemicals (alone and in combination) in human breast epithelial cells, especially in relation to how they may influence the hallmarks of cancer
  • Laboratory currently has five postgraduate students, all self-funded from overseas

Member of the Molecular & Cellular Medicine Group

Impact, Enterprise and Outreach

  • Case Studies: The reduction in the use of potentially toxic chemicals in cosmetics, thus safeguarding human health
  • Research on parabens has led to extensive media coverage and increasing public awareness of the issues surrounding useage of parabens in consumer products.
  • Research on aluminium has led to extensive media coverage and increasing public awareness of issues surrounding use of aluminium-based salts as antiperspirants to control underarm perspiration.
  • Media coverage on cosmetics and breast cancer has been international and includes websites, national/local newspaper and magazine articles, television interviews, documentaries and films.
  • Application of the research on parabens and aluminium by industry has led to the availability of paraben-free and aluminium-free products on supermarket shelves.
  • Research results have been adopted and used by non-government organisations (NGOs)
  • Research results have been featured in numerous websites and in popular books.

Esteem Factors

  • Scientific Advisor, European Commission-Committee on Health and Environmental Risks
  • Scientific Advisory Board of the International Halifax Project
  • Editorial board member for J. Applied Toxicology, Hormone Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation
  • Organizer and Plenary Speaker: Hormone Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation.
  • Member of Organising Committee of the International Meeting of the Journal of Steroid Hormone Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, held in Seefeld, Austria, September 2010
  • External examiner MRes Medical Sciences, University of Newcastle
  • Patron of the charity CancerActive


  • Part 1: Biochemistry and Metabolism*
  • Part 2: Life and Death of a Cell*
  • Part 3: Cancer*, Medical Genetics, Medicinal Plants, Selected Topics in Endocrine Disease

(* Module coordinator)

International Collaborators

  • Prof F Mannello, University of Urbino, Italy

National Collaborators

  • Mr L Barr, Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention centre, University Hospital of South Manchester
  • Prof C Exley, University of Keele


Other Information

Study for a PhD with Professor Philippa Darbre

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