Dr Donna Daly
Senior Lecturer in Physiology
School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
After graduating with a PhD from the University of Sheffield in 2008, Donna worked as a post-doctoral researcher on a number of projects before joining UCLan in 2016. She teachers across a range of subjects for our Biomedical Science, Pharmacology and Pharmacy programs. Donna has a number of research interests, which centre around understanding the function of the peripheral nervous system.
Donna is a neurophysiologist and pharmacologist. She has particular expertise in the physiology and pharmacology of the visceral organs including the gastrointestinal system and urinary tract. She leads a 40 credit second year module (physiology and pharmacology) and a 20 credit second year module (tissues to organisms), is the course leader of the Neuroscience Research Masters degree (MRes), and co-ordinates a number of sub-themes of the pharmacy program. She is an academic advisor providing academic and pastoral support for undergraduate student and she supervises undergraduate projects. Donna is an active researcher and supervises a number of PhD and Masters students. Her research aims to understand how the sensory nerves innervating the visceral organs such as the bladder and intestine detect normal bladder filling and how these signals are altered with disease or ageing.
Donna completed her PhD at the University of Sheffield in 2007 under the supervision of Professor David Grundy, Professor Chess-Williams and Professor Christopher Chapple where she developed and validated an in vitro model for studying bladder sensory nerves. Following this she did a post-doc at Queens University, Canada with Dr Michael Beyak looking at the effects of long term diet-induced obesity on gut sensitivity. In 2010 Donna was awarded a 12 month European fellowship to study the role of proteases in colonic inflammation after which she continued her previous work on the lower urinary tract. She has since conducted a number of studies looking at the effect botulinum toxin on bladder function and the impact of ageing on the sensitivity of bladder nerves. She is also currently working with some mathematical modellers to try and build a physiologically relevant model of bladder filling. While a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Sheffield Donna contributed to teaching on the Dentistry and Biomedical science degree and completed a PG Cert (higher education). She joined UCLan in 2016 as a Lecturer in Physiology and Pharmacology and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Physiology in 2018. Donna teachers across a range of subjects for our Biomedical Science, Pharmacology and Pharmacy programs and continues her research of peripheral neurophysiology.
- PG Cert (Higher Education), University of Sheffield, 2014
- PhD Physiology, University of Sheffield, 2008
- BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science, University of Sheffield, 2004
- John Blandy Prize for best scientific paper 2015
- 2013 she was awarded the ICS best scientific abstract prize
- ICS Ferring-Water prize for new investigators2012
- Human physiology
- Afferent nerves
- Lower urinary tract
- Member of the British Physiological Society
- Fellow of the HEA
The urinary bladder is responsible for the collection, storage and controlled elimination of urine from the body. Its normal function relies on a complex array of events which, when disrupted, can give rise to a number of extremely distressing clinical conditions, such as overactive bladder syndrome and urinary incontinence. The incidence of these conditions significantly increases with age. Staggeringly across Europe in 2014 the sales of adult incontinence products outsold sales of infant nappies for the first time. This is due to the fact that western populations are demographically ageing yet, few pharmacological therapies have been developed to alleviate bladder conditions. UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) estimates that 90% of men 50-80 years of age experience disorders of the lower urinary tract, with storage symptoms (such as those associated with overactive bladder syndrome and incontinence) increasing from 3% at age 40–44 years to 42% in those aged ≥75 years. However surprisingly there are very few studies which have actually investigated how age alters bladder function. Dr Daly has had a long standing interest in functional urology since 2003 when her first introduction to science was a summer internship with Dr Chess-Williams at the University of Sheffield. Since then her research has been directed at understanding how the sensory nerves and epithelial cells which line the lumen of the bladder (the urothelial cells) interact to control bladder filling. We currently know that the urothelium exhibits unique sensory properties. During filling, the apical urothelial cells detect stretch and perform exocytosis of a large population of subapical discoidal/fusiform vesicles, which significantly increases the apical surface area of the cell. This allows the urothelium to adapt to stretch while still maintaining a tight barrier. Simultaneously the underlying urothelial cells release excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters which then act on close lying afferent nerve terminals to signal the degree of bladder fullness. To date, some of the mechanisms involved in this membrane trafficking have been identified however the mechanosensor which triggers the process and the downstream signalling cascades which induce release of transmitters from the underlying urothelial cells remain to be determined. Clinical and experimental studies both suggest that changes in the way the urothelium detects filling may drive a number of urological disorders. Dr Dalys research is focussed on understanding the interaction between the urothelium and the sensory nerves.
Use the links below to view their profiles:
- View their unique and persistent identifier on the ORCiD registry
- Full list of publications and articles on CLoK
- Investigating the molecular mechanisms of BoNTA in the lower urinary tract
- The urinary bladder an age old problem: investigation into the ageing bladder
- The role of peripheral glial cells in early detection of Alzheimer’s disease
- Investigator initiated research grant funded by IPSEN Biopharmaceuticals, 2019
- Doctoral training academy 2019
- Doctoral training academy 2018
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