Philip Welsby

Dr. Philip John Welsby

Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology

School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Maudland Building, MB241

+44 (0) 1772 89 5823

Subject Areas: Pharmacology

Dr Welsby is a lecturer in pharmacology at UCLan with significant teaching and research experience that includes work in the UK, Ireland and US. His current research interests include the development of novel treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and brain tumours with an emphasis on in vitro biochemical and electrophysiological techniques.

Dr Welsby  is research active within the area of pharmacy and biomedical sciences and is a member of the Neuronal and Tissue Dysfunction Research Group.

Full Profile

Dr Welsby started his academic career at the University of Aberdeen where he gained a BSc(Hons) in Pharmacology (1996). Following this he spent two years in industry working as a research associate in the urogenitals section of Pfizer Central Research in Sandwich, Kent as part of a team developing phosphodiesterase inhibitors for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Subsequently he returned to academia and postgraduate research, gaining a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology from the University of Glasgow (2001). His PhD research investigated the molecular interaction between the 5-HT1A receptor and its G-proteins, and also characterised the regulation of this process by RGS proteins.

Following a move to the US, he undertook postdoctoral research with Professor Paula Q Barrett in the Department of Pharmacology in the University of Virginia. His work continued to have a biochemical and molecular basis examining the regulation of T-type calcium channels by CaMKII. Additionally, he was introduced to electrophysiology, using patching techniques to measure calcium currents in vitro.
In 2003 he returned to his home country of Ireland and a postdoctoral research fellowship working with Professor Roger Anwyl at Trinity College, Dublin. His work in the Department of Physiology and the Trinity College Insitute of Neuroscience examined both the electrophysiological basis of memory and the impact of Alzheimer’s Disease on synaptic plasticity, the molecular correlate of memory.

While in Ireland he began his academic teaching career, lecturer in pharmacology at Dublin Institute of Technology, Trinity College Dublin, and subsequently at the National University of Ireland, Galway. In Galway he established his first research group, investigating novel pharmacological approaches for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease focusing on the potential of selective histaminergic agents and further examining the role for nicotine in neuroregeneration. In the summer of 2011 he returned to the UK, taking up his current position as a Lecturer in Pharmacology in the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences. He quickly established his research, continuing to investigate the development of novel treatments for dementia while developing an interest in cancer as a member of Brain Tumour North West. Current research projects include the characterisation of novel aspirin analogues and asiatic acid in the treatment of glioblastoma.


Society for Neuroscience


V Petinou, ID Nicholl, J Singh, RW Lea and PJ Welsby (2012) Anti-cancer effects and mechanism of action of aspirin analogues in the treatment of glioma. Neuro-Oncol Volume 14 suppl 2. Online ISSN: 1523-5866

Murphy JC, Welsby PJ Neuroprotective effects of histamine in PC12 cells. Ir J Med Sci. 2010 179 Suppl 3:S98-146. PMID: 20411439

Welsby PJ, Rowan MJ, Anwyl R. Intracellular mechanisms underlying the nicotinic enhancement of LTP in the rat dentate gyrus. Eur J Neurosci. 2009 29(1):65-75. PMID: 19077124

Welsby PJ, Rowan MJ, Anwyl R. Beta-amyloid blocks high frequency stimulation induced LTP but not nicotine enhanced LTP. Neuropharmacology. 2007 53(1):188-95. PMID: 17610911

Welsby PJ, Rowan M, Anwyl R. Nicotinic receptor-mediated enhancement of long-term potentiation involves activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors and ryanodine-sensitive calcium stores in the dentate gyrus. Eur J Neurosci. 2006 24(11):3109-18. PMID: 17156372

More publications


As a member of the Brain Tumour North West research cluster he is investigating the potential of aspirin analogues for the treatment of glioma, work being done in collaboration with colleagues at Wolverhampton University. He is also investigating the therapeutic potential of asiatic acid in glioblastoma treatment, focusing on novel drug delivery methods (for further details see current projects section). His research also continues to focus on synaptic plasticity, its role in learning and memory and pharmacological approaches for the treatment of dementia. Additionally, he has a collaboration with Professor Jaipaul Singh with research investigating the effect of type one diabetes on cardiac fibrosis and calcium regulation.

Project 1
Anti-cancer effects and mechanism of action of aspirin-like drugs in the treatment of glioblastoma: aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that has been in use for over 100 years but only in the last 30 has it been linked to a reduced risk of developing a variety of cancers including bladder, oesophageal, breast, liver and colon. These findings have been supported by recent meta-analysis of published randomized trials suggesting a therapeutic role for aspirin in the treatment of cancer. However, there still exists associated risk of gastric bleeding and stroke with long term aspirin use. As a result research has begun to focus on the development of analogues with increased anti-cancer efficacy and the potential for low dose use with a resulting higher therapeutic index. In collaboration with Dr Iain Nicholl and Dr Chris Perry of Wolverhampton, we aim to characterise the effects of a number of aspirin analogues on cell death, proliferation and signalling pathways using both established and primary glioblastoma cultures. The project will investigate efficacy of aspiring analogues on their own and in conjunction with existing chemotherapeutics for the treatment of glioblastoma.

Project 2
Chronic Low Dose Aspirin in the treatment of Glioblastoma: a substantial amount of evidence demonstrates a decrease in the risk of developing a wide range of cancers following long term low dose aspirin use. However, the majority of the in vitro work examining this effect of aspirin and characterising signalling pathways has focused on high dose short term efficacy, a treatment not supported by clinical data. As a result, this project focuses on clinically relevant aspirin concentrations and examines the effect over extended exposure, focusing on cell proliferation and alterations in cell cycle regulation in established and short term primary glioblastoma cultures.

Project 3
Designing a drug delivery system for Asiatic acid and its effects on Glioblastoma cell lines: asiatic acid, a herbal extract from Centella asiatica, has previously demonstrated chemotherapeutic potential, but as with many drug, the blood brain barrier presents a significant therapeutic obstacle. The main aim of the project is to prepare a nanoparticle system for the delivery of Asiatic acid and subsequently investigate its effects in inducing glioma cell death in vitro using cell culture and biochemical techniques.

Project 4
Effects of hyperglycaemia on cation contents, structural remodelling and associated changes in inflammatory marker in the cardiac myocytes: the central aim of this project is to investigate the effects of hyperglycaemia conditions on ion regulation and the expression and signalling of inflammatory markers such as TGF-beta.


His teaching activities cover a range of subjects including pharmacology, physiology, biochemistry, and molecular mechanisms in cancer.

Teaching responsibilities on the following courses:

MPharm, Pharmacy
BSc (Hons) in Physiology and Pharmacology
MSc Cancer Biology and Therapy
MSc Biomedical Science

Teaching activity on the following modules:
Year 1
PJ1200: Physiological, cellular and biochemical basis of pharmacology
PJ1201: Systems pharmacology I
Year 2
PJ2200: Systems pharmacology II (module tutor)
BL2217: Systems pharmacology
Year 3
BL3212: Drug Therapies 2
PJ3998/9: Research Project
Year 4
BL4210: Cancer Biology
BL4224: Laboratory Based Research Techniques
BL4207: Research Project


Oral Presentations:
Welsby PJ, Wang H, Wolfe TJ, Colbran RJ, Johnson ML, Barrett PQ. Direct modulation of CaV3.2 calcium channels by calcium-calmodulin kinase II. Biophysical Society Meeting, San Antonio 2002

Poster Presentations:
V Petinou, ID Nicholl, J Singh, RW Lea and PJ Welsby. Anti-cancer effects and mechanism of action of aspirin analogues in the treatment of glioma. British Neuro-Oncology Society Meeting, Manchester 2012

Murphy JC, Azeem A, Welsby PJ. Neuroprotective effects of histamine and carnosine in models of neuronal stress. Neuroscience Ireland Conference, UCD, Dublin 2010

Murphy JC, Welsby PJ. Neuroprotective effects of histamine in PC12 cells. Neuroscience Ireland Conference, TCD, Dublin 2009

Welsby PJ. Sustained neuroprotection following nicotine withdrawal in differentiated PC12 cells. Society for Neurosciences Meeting, Washington 2008

Welsby PJ, Rowan MJ, Anwyl R. Beta-Amyloid blocks high frequency stimulation induced LTP but not nicotine enhanced LTP. Forum of European Neuroscience, Vienna 2006

Welsby PJ, Rowan MJ, Anwyl R. Nicotine enhances LTP in the rat dentate gyrus via alpha7 nicotinic receptors and ryanodine-sensitive calcium stores. Neuropharmacology Conference, Atlanta 2006

Welsby PJ, Rowan MJ, Anwyl R. Calcium regulation of nicotinic potentiation of LTP in the rat dentate gyrus in vitro. Society for Neurosciences Meeting, Washington 2005

Wang H, Peng X, Welsby PJ, Barrett PQ. Angiotensin II (Ang II) induces CaV3.2 (alpha1H) channel expression in adrenocarcinoma cells (H295R). Biophysical Society Meeting, San Francisco 2001

Neuroscience Ireland Meeting: NUI Galway 2008

Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration: Biochemical Society Meeting: Dublin 2005

Biochemical Society: Edinburgh, Scotland 2000

British Pharmacological Sciences Meeting: Harrogate, UK 1997