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Mark Dallas

Mark Dallas
  • SCFP Director of Outreach
  • PM1PCOL1 Principles of Drug Action module convenor
  • Editorial Board Member British Journal of Pharmacology
  • Associate Editor Physiological Reports
  • STEM ambassador
  • ARUK Thames Valley Research Network Member.

Research projects

A range of projects are available within this laboratory in which opportunities for PhD projects exist, focusing on the regulation of astrocyte function utilising primary cell culture and brain slice model systems. These studies focus on ion channels and neurotransmitter transporters that may be potential substrates for the gasotransmitters.

A PhD in this clinically important area of neuroscience research will provide specialist training in neurobiology, electrophysiology and a broad training in cell biology approaches. While specific projects will be advertised, expressions of interest from government or self-funded candidates are always welcome.


Neurodegenerative diseases include a number of disorders that have different symptoms and effects, all of which act through the mechanism of compromising the brain's capacity to control itself or the body by damaging cells known as neurons that facilitate normal brain function. Various cellular proteins are involved in regulating normal physiological function including ion channels and neurotransmitter transporters. These complex proteins are expressed in various cell types within the central nervous system and are influenced by a host of endogenous and exogenous signalling molecules. Active research into these proteins is important as they underlie a host of pathological conditions, including neurodegenerative diseases. My research primarily uses electrophysiological techniques coupled with molecular biology experiments to further our understanding of ion channel and transporter physiology within the central nervous system.

One family of transporter proteins that I am currently interested in is the glutamate transporters expressed in both neurones and astrocytes. It is widely reported that the astrocytes specific transporters become dysfunctional in neurological disorders, so by understanding more about how they are regulated, I aim to unravel new therapeutic targets for a host of neurodegenerative diseases. Current research focuses on the astrocyte transporters and how their activity is regulated by oxidative and nitrosative stress, both implicated in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis. As part of my research into Alzheimer's disease I am a member of the Oxford Alzheimer's Research UK network

I am also interested in the so called gasotransmitters and their actions as key signalling molecules in both the cardiovascular and nervous systems. These molecules (nitric oxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide) are generated throughout the body and can either be toxic or protective to cells. A growing body of evidence suggests that these gasotransmitters regulate cellular signalling cascades by targeting specific ion channels and that this can dictate toxicity vs protection. My focus here is to understand how these gasotransmitters influence a range of cellular functions and be potentially used as cardioprotective or neuroprotective agents.

Watch this video to find out about dementia research at the University.

See Dr Dallas's public lecture: Brain Glue - Sticking it to Dementia

Research in the lab is generously funded by The Royal SocietyThe Physiological Society The Alzheimer's Association and Alzheimer's Research UK