Dr Paul Brownbill PhD

Lecturer in Developmental Biology & Med

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I study human placental physiology and toxicology, with an emphasis on vascular function and transfer. My expertise includes transplacental transfer of solute and water, the transplacental paracellular route and the regulation of fetoplacental vascular tone and its dysregulation in disease. I have an interdisciplinary collaborations with: (i) mathematicians interested in the study of oxygen transfer across the placenta; (ii) a pharmacologist on placental-targeted nanoparticle therapies for pregnancy related diseases; (iii) scientists and obstetricians in Manchester, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland, interested in understanding the mechanism of idiopathic fetal growth restriction (FGR); and the effect of maternal anti-hypertensive treatments on fetal growth and development; and (iv) an epidemiologist, immunologists and a materials scientist interested in understanding placental transfer and potential carcinogenic effects of traffic air pollution (TRAP) in evoking childhood leukaemia during the in utero period.

I continue to collaborate with industry and have had industrial funding as a PI on translation driven research investigating a potential adenoviral vector therapy to alleviate compromised uteroplacental blood flow in early-onset FGR; evaluating its potential placental transfer and safety. I am participating in a network of placental physiologists, pathologists, biophysicists and mathematicians interested in modelling placental transfer in normal and diseased pregnancies. I have formed and co-lead an international consortium (PlaNet) of placental physiologists, biophysicists, mathematicians and industrialists from 55 international centres to promote human placental biological models towards standardised testing systems to better understand the reproductive toxicology effects of the human exposome. I hold an editorial board position with an international journal, Placenta. I am also one of three international panellists on a new Doctoral Partnership program on “Inflammatory Disorders in Pregnancy” (DP-iDP) at Graz Medical University, Austria (currently 17 PhD students on a partnership program with industry).

Social responsibility

Annual hosting of A-level students on work-experince placements.

Associate of Greenhead College "PAWS" program

Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre Patient Research Involvement Group

Various departmental associated events

Speaker to various ProBus (retired business womens meetings)


BSc(HONS), MPhil, PhD

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • Physiological Society
  • British Microcirculation Society
  • International Federation of Placenta Associations
  • Blair Bell Research Society (Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists)
  • European Society of Cardiology
  • Fetal & Neonatal Physiological Society
  • NC3Rs non-animal testing (NATs) specialist interest group

Areas of expertise

Research Networks and Beacons

Biology, Medicine and Health (BMH) Domains

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2001 - Master of Philosophy, Permeability of the Human Placenta, The University of Manchester
  • 1988 - Bachelor of Science, Applied Biological Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)

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