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  • Emeritus Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Gastroenterology, Faculty of Biology, Medicine & Health, University of Manchester


I trained in Medicine at Edinburgh University, and did my clinical training in Edinburgh with Prof Chris Edwards and in Nottingham with Dr William Jeffcoate. I obtained my PhD and MD as an MRC Clinical Training Fellow and then Lecturer in Medicine working with Profs Bill Hoffenberg and Michael Sheppard at Birmingham University, before moving to Manchester as Senior Lecturer in Medicine.  

In external roles I was a member of Council for the Society for Endocrinology, and acted as Chairman of its Awards Committee and the British Endocrine Societies Liaison Committee. I was Deputy Editor and then Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Endocrinology during 2000-2008, and an Associate Editor of Physiological Reports, 2013-2016. I was Chairman of the Royal College of Physicians Joint Specialty Committee for Endocrinology and Diabetes during 2004-2006, and a Trustee and then Secretary/Treasurer of the Clinical Endocrinology Trust (2010-15). I was a member and vice-chair of the Wellcome Trust Physiology and Pharmacology panel (1999-2004), member of the MRC Population and Systems Medicine Board (2008-2013), and of the BBSRC Integrative and Systems Biology Panel (2011-2014). At the University of Manchester I was Vice Dean for Research in the Faculty of Medical & Human Sciences in 2013-16, and was Acting Vice President and Dean during January-May 2015. I have retired from clinical work as a consultant endocrinologist at Manchester Royal Infirmary. 

I am an active pianist, with a special interest in 19th and 20th century music. I play in several chamber music ensembles, as a solo pianist, and in a 2-piano duo. 

Research interests

I am an endocrinologist with a research interest in pituitary gene regulation. I have now retired from clinical work which was based in Manchester Royal Infirmary. 

My research has focussed on the mechanisms for gene regulation in the pituitary gland. A major project, funded by Wellcome Trust programme grants in 2002-2009 and 2009-2016, studied the nature of dynamic gene promoter activity in living endocrine cells. This collaboration with Prof Mike White (Manchester), Prof John Mullins and Prof Alan McNeilly (Edinburgh), and Prof David Rand (Warwick) addressed the mechanisms of real-time oscillating patterns of gene expression in living pituitary cells, with a view to better understanding of hormonal regulation.  We studied the spatio-temporal co-ordination of patterns of gene expression in adult and developing pituitary tissue and used advanced mathematical modelling to understand cyclical patterns in individual cells in culture (Harper et al, 2011, PLoS Biology; Dunham et al, 2017, Cell Systems). We developed detailed analysis of spatial organisation of gene expression patterns in intact pituitary tissue using stochastic switch modelling (Featherstone, eLife, 2016).  

Other research projects have included a BBSRC-funded programme (2008-2012 and 2013-2016) led by Prof Andrew Loudon, with Prof Alan McNeilly and Prof Dave Burt (Roslin), investigating the mechanisms of photoperiodic regulation of the neuroendocrine axis, using prolactin as a target system which is seasonally regulated



Postgraduate: PhD students

Lee Dunham (PhD 2015)

Amanda Patist (PhD 2013)

Stephanie Sarri (PhD 2013, co-supervisor with Prof Andrew Loudon)

Alex West (PhD 2012, co-supervisor with Prof Andrew Loudon)

Emma Jenkinson (PhD 2012, co-supervisor with Dr Bill Newman)

Adam Giles (PhD, 2011)

Claire Jennings (MPhil, 2009)

Antony Adamson (PhD, 2008)

Andrea Norris (MD, 2006)

Jonathan Johnston (PhD, 2001)

Derek McFerran (PhD, 2001)

Adam Stevens (PhD, 2000)

My collaborations

  • Prof Mike White, University of Manchester
  • Prof Alan McNeilly, University of Edinburgh
  • Prof John Mullins, University of Edinburgh
  • Prof David Rand, University of Warwick
  • Dr Bärbel Finkenstädt, University of Warwick
  • Prof Andrew Loudon, University of Manchester
  • Prof Dave Burt, Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • Society for Endocrinology
  • The Endocrine Society, USA
  • British Society for Neuroendocrinology 
  • Association of Physicians
  • Royal Society of Biology


  • BSc (1st class Hons, Physiology)
  • MB ChB (Edinburgh)
  • MD (Edinburgh)
  • PhD (Birmingham)
  • FRCP
  • FRSB
  • LRAM (Piano, Performance)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures


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