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Personal profile

Research interests

My principal research interests are in the characterisation of membrane proteins by using techniques such as patch clamping and planar bilayer analysis. We study the responses of whole cells and single channels to various drugs including newly synthesised ligands.

Hypertension and the BK Channel

The BK channel is a large calcium and voltage gated channel consisting of two different sub-units, α and β, these associate in cell membranes to control flow of potassium ions, which amongst other things, controls vascular tone. We have been investigating the effects of oestrogen and membrane impermeant oestrogen derivatives on the BK channel with the hope of developing a novel therapy for hypertension.

Ageing research

I have an on-going interest in changes in membrane protein function during the ageing process. Changes in potassium channel function are currently being investigated within my laboratory and include role of replicative senescence in determining channel expression and function. This research is undertaken as part of the ageing research initiative of the school of pharmacy and Biomolecular sciences.

Drug resistance

In addition to BK channel work we have investigated membrane transport proteins that are responsible for drug resistance in both cancer cells (P-glycoprotein, ABC B1) and the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum (pfCRT). We have expressed, purified and reconstituted both proteins and are undertaking functional studies of these proteins.

Scholarly biography

Dr Allen is a Reader in Pharmacology and conducts research in the area of molecular pharmacology, in particular the area of ion channel and transporter function. He is a Registered Pharmacist, member of the General Pharmaceutical Council, Member of the British Pharmacological Society and a Member of the British Pharmacological Society Clinical Division. He currently runs an active ion channel research group which investigates the structure, function and pharmacological modulation of the BK potassium channel. Dr Allen has developed novel BK channel activators and he currently investigates the role of the BK channel in health and chronic cardiovascular diseases.

Approach to teaching

I am a molecular pharmacologist and pharmacist. I utilise a range of teaching methods on my modules including lectures, tutorials, experiential clinical visits, seminars, student presentations, workshops and laboratory sessions. Most of the modules that I teach involve the study of pharmacological, either in the laboratory or within the NHS. It is in these sessions that students benefit from access to the state of the art pharmacological equipment including a specialist electrophysiological laboratories, tissue culture facilities and molecular biology equipment.

I believe that lecturing by highly qualified, experienced and enthusiastic researchers will encourage dynamic learning and help students develop as active learners. I expect the study of these sciences to provide a solid foundation and understanding for the profession of pharmacy and equip students well for their future careers.

I am always looking for ways to improve my teaching and am willing to try out different formats and introduce new concepts. My role as an External Examiner at other universities allows me to see how things are done elsewhere and if they work, I incorporate these features into my teaching

Supervisory Interests

The BK potassium channel is a large calcium and voltage-gated channel consisting of two different sub-units, α and β, these associate in cell membranes to control the flow of potassium ions, which amongst other things, controls vascular tone (and blood pressure). Epidemiological evidence shows that women are less likely to suffer from high blood pressure than men and this has been attributed to the protective influence of oestrogens. We have been investigating the effects of oestrogen and membrane-impermeant oestrogen derivatives on the BK channel with the hope of developing a novel therapy for hypertension. In addition, there is evidence that BK function is changed in diabetes, ageing and hypertension. The project involves investigating novel treatments on BK channels expressed in HEK 293 cells using electrophysiological techniques.

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Research Output

Safe prognostication following cardiac arrest: the role of the pharmacokinetics of fentanyl in patients treated with targeted-temperature management

Baldwin, F., Gray, R., Boyd, O., Waxman, D., Patel, B., Allen, M. & Scutt, G., 6 Feb 2020, In : Resuscitation. 149, p. 10-16 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Stress hormone-mediated acceleration of breast cancer metastasis is halted by inhibition of nitric oxide synthase

    Flaherty, R. L., Intabli, H., Falcinelli, M., Bucca, G., Hesketh, A., Patel, B., Allen, M., Smith, C. & Flint, M., 24 May 2019, In : Cancer Letters. 459, p. 59-71 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Planar lipid bilayers in recombinant ion channel research

    Maher, J. & Allen, M., 9 Mar 2018, In : Methods. 147, p. 206-212

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    File
  • Glucocorticoids induce ROS/RNS production and DNA damage through an iNOS mediated pathway in breast cancer

    Flaherty, R. L., Owen, M., Fagan-Murphy, A., Intabli, H., Healy, D., Patel, A., Allen, M., Patel, B. & Flint, M., 24 Mar 2017, In : Breast Cancer Research. 19

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    File