Institute of Dentistry - Barts and The London

Dr Simon McArthur, PhD FHEA

Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience & Pharmacology Clinical

Telephone: +44(0)20 7882 7133
Room Number: Blizard Institute


1997-2000 - University of Cambridge, BA Hons in Natural Sciences

2000-2004 - Imperial College London, PhD in Pharmacology - Effects of steroid hormones upon mesencephalic dopaminergic nuclei in rodents: adult neuroprotection & perinatal programming

2004-2011 - Research Associate, Department of Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience, Imperial College London

2011-2014 - Postdoctoral Research Fellow, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary, University of London

2014-2016 - Lecturer in Physiology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Westminster

2016-present - Non-Clinical Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience & Pharmacology, Institute of Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London


My principal teaching responsibilities are on the first year of the Bachelor of Dental Surgery course, where I am part of the team delivering the Basic Clinical Sciences module. I teach primarily neuroscience and pharmacology as part of the essential background required for later clinical years. I also contribute to the BSc in Pharmacology & Therapeutic Innovation.


Research Interests:

My research concentrates on Alzheimer’s disease and developing an understanding of how the factors we know increase its risk of development are actually mediated. I am particularly interested in how changes in peripheral homeostasis affect the main defensive structures of the brain, the blood brain barrier (BBB) and the microglia, and the implications these may have for the development of Alzheimer’s disease. My group focuses on the so-called gut-brain axis, and communication between the human gut microbiota and the BBB, where we have shown several different microbe-derived metabolites to regulate BBB integrity and function in vitro and in vivo. A major arm of this work now focuses on investigating how dietary modification of the gut microbiota can influence neuroinflammatory disease, with a view to identifying nutritional mechanisms to promote brain resilience in the face of neurodegenerative challenge. This work is generously funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK. 

A second focus of my research is into the mechanisms of inflammatory resolution, focusing particularly on the role of the protein annexin A1 and its primary receptor FPR2. We have shown that annexin A1 acting through FPR2 is a major chemoattractant for infiltrating monocytes, and that it promotes their differentiation into pro-resolving macrophages, a key step in the healthy and regulated termination of an inflammatory reaction. My group is now investigating the role of FPR2 in microglia, given their close relationship to macrophages, focussing on whether agonists for this receptor may have value as an approach to limit neuroinflammatory activity in Alzheimer’s disease. 

I am always happy to talk to potential PhD students, please contact me if you are interested in joining my research group.