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Blizard Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Dr Gregory Michael, PhD


Honorary Senior Lecturer

Centre: Neuroscience, Surgery and Trauma

Telephone: 020 7882 2297


Greg studied at the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY where he received a BSc in Biochemistry in 1986 and a PhD in Neuroscience in 1990. Upon moving to the UK, he did postdoctoral work at the Institute of Neurology and St. Thomas’ Hospital before joining Barts and The London as a lecturer. 

Member of the Society for Neuroscience.



Greg is both a committed medical educator and research scientist. Endeavouring to provide medical students with the highest possible standard of preparation for a medical career, he has been teaching microanatomy and histopathology to medical students from his initial appointment. He has helped develop the MBBS curriculum with engagement of the student learning experience through problem-based learning as well as electronic learning initiatives. In medical assessment, he works to ensure students are given examinations that cover the range of materials they learn, are most suited to assess their abilities and fair. 

Greg’s expertise and interests in functional neuroanatomy inform his research which focuses on the neurochemical anatomy of the normal nervous system and its alterations in pathology. In Rochester, he was trained by scientists at the forefront of immunohistochemical analyses of neuroendocrine systems in the brain. Expanding on this excellent foundation, his technical repertoire encompasses state-of-the-art neuroanatomical expression analyses at the protein and RNA level aiding our understanding of topics including how sensory neurons respond to normal stimuli and how both peripheral and central neural systems are altered following injury or in disease. He has examined peripheral sensory systems relevant to chronic pain as well as visceral conditions such as asthma. By elucidating the cellular expression patterns of various proteins shown to be increased in expression in brains of Parkinsonian patients, it has been shown that both neurones and glial cells are greatly affected. Glial response may be neuroprotective and harnessing their functions to support neurons is a major goal. Neurodegenerative processes, including those occurring with normal ageing and the development of chronic pain, have many similarities and the development of drugs that modify and protect against such processes, including cannabinoid modulators and polyunsaturated fatty acids are the focus of recent and ongoing collaborative projects with colleagues here in the Centre for Neuroscience and Trauma.  


MBBS and BDS courses;  

Co-convenor of the Microanatomy/ Histopathology theme in MBBS Years 1 and 2
Principal Internal Examiner for MBBS Part 2 

BSc in Neuroscience (Intercalated)

MSc in Neuroscience and Translational Medicine:
Module convenor of the Neurodegeneration and  Neurotrauma and Stroke 

Topics for PhD supervision:

  • Vanilloids and cannabinoids in normal and injured somatosensory systems 
  • The role of neuroinflammation in neurodegenerative disease and pain
  • Cannabinoid modulation as a neuroprotective strategy


Research Interests:

Sensory transduction and processing, pain, neurodegenerative disease and neuroprotection, vanilloid and cannabinoid signalling

A unique population of TRPV1 expressing cells

Recent and ongoing research projects

  • MicroRNAs in the cerebral vasculature and multiple sclerosis
  • The cannabinoid system as a target for neuroprotection and symptom alleviation
  • Neuroinflammation: glial alterations in Parkinsonian brain 
  • The neuronal chaperone sacsin and its role in neurodegeneration
  • Processing of innocuous heat, itch and noxious stimuli from the peripheral to central nervous system 


Michael GJ, Esmailzadeh S, Moran LB, Christian L, Pearce RK, Graeber MB (2011) Up-regulation of metallothionein gene expression in Parkinsonian astrocytes. Neurogenetics [Epub ahead of print available]

Kiasalari Z, Salehi I, Zhong Y, McMahon SB, Michael-Titus AT, Michael GJ (2010) Identification of perineal sensory neurons activated by innocuous heat. J Comp Neurol 518:137-162.

Guasti L, Richardson D, Jhaveri M, Eldeeb K, Barrett D, Elphick MR, Alexander SP, Kendall D, Michael GJ, Chapman V (2009) Minocycline treatment inhibits microglial activation and alters spinal levels of endocannabinoids in a rat model of neuropathic pain. Mol Pain 5:35.

Parfitt DA*, Michael GJ*, Vermeulen EG, Prodromou NV, Webb TR, Gallo JM, Cheetham ME, Nicoll WS, Blatch GL, Chapple JP (2009) The ataxia protein sacsin is a functional co-chaperone that protects against polyglutamine-expanded ataxin-1. Hum Mol Genet 18:1556-1565. (*equal first authorship)

Durrenberger PF, Filiou MD, Moran LB, Michael GJ, Novoselov S, Cheetham ME, Clark P, Pearce RK, Graeber MB (2009) DnaJB6 is present in the core of Lewy bodies and is highly up-regulated in parkinsonian astrocytes. J Neurosci Res 87:238-245.

Michael-Titus AT, Albert M, Michael GJ, Michaelis T, Watanabe T, Frahm J, Pudovkina O, van der Hart MG, Hesselink MB, Fuchs E, Czeh B (2008) SONU20176289, a compound combining partial dopamine D(2) receptor agonism with specific serotonin reuptake inhibitor activity, affects neuroplasticity in an animal model for depression. Eur J Pharmacol 598:43-50.

Dyall SC, Michael GJ, Whelpton R, Scott AG, Michael-Titus AT (2007) Dietary enrichment with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids reverses age-related decreases in the GluR2 and NR2B glutamate receptor subunits in rat forebrain. Neurobiol Aging 28:424-439.

View all Gregory Michael's Research Publications at:

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