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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


I read Natural Sciences (Pharmacology) at the University of Cambridge, followed by a PhD in Neuropharmacology at Imperial College London in 2004. My thesis and postdoctoral work with Professor Glenda Gillies and Dr Egle Solito at Imperial College London examined the influence of peripheral stress and inflammation upon neuroinflammatory pathology in conditions including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2011 I moved to Queen Mary, University of London and undertook postdoctoral research with Professors Rod Flower and Mauro Perretti at the William Harvey Research Institute, studying mechanisms of inflammatory resolution and the roles of monocytes/macrophages in the termination of acute inflammation.

In 2014, I was appointed as a Lecturer in Physiology at the University of Westminster where I first developed my interest in the gut-brain axis, and the mechanism(s) linking the gut microbiota with the brain pathology in neurodegenerative disease, in collaboration with Dr Lesley Hoyles. In 2016 I took up my current position as a non-clinical Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience & Pharmacology at the Institute of Dentistry, QMUL, where I continues my research investigating the gut brain axis and its relevance to neurodegenerative disease


Centre: Centre for Oral Immunobiology and Regenerative Medicine


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 neuroscience and pharmacology as part of the essential background required for later clinical years. I also contribute to other courses in the School of Medicine & Dentistry, including the BSc in Pharmacology & Therapeutic Innovation and MSc in Translational Neuroscience.

I regularly take on BSc, iBSc and MSc students for research projects from many different areas of the School of Medicine & Dentistry.


Research Interests:


I am interested in the environmental influences that affect age-related neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, and the biological mechanisms that underlie these links. My research focuses on the role of microbial communities in the body, chiefly those in the mouth and the gut, and how they interact with lifestyle factors such as diet and hygiene to affect brain health. We principally study how the products of microbial metabolism can interact with host systems, particularly the two main defensive structures of the brain, the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and the microglia. We have identified multiple different classes of microbe-derived metabolite that can exert positive and negative effects upon BBB integrity and microglial phenotype in vitro and in vivo, and are now focused on investigating how targeting of microbial communities can be used to promote brain resilience in the face of neuroinflammatory challenge.

A second branch of my research is into the mechanisms of neuroinflammatory resolution, focusing particularly on the role of the protein annexin A1 and its primary receptor FPR2. In peripheral inflammation, we have shown that annexin A1 via FPR2 acts to both recruit macrophages and promote their differentiation into a pro-resolving phenotype, a key step in the regulated termination of inflammation. We are now investigating the role of the annexin A1-FPR2 system 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.



Hoyles L, Snelling T, Umlai U-K, Nicholson JK, Carding SR, Glen RC, McArthur S (2018) Microbiome-host systems interactions: Protective effects of propionate upon the bloodbrain barrier. BMC Microbiome vol. 6, 55

Loiola RA, Wickstead ES, Solito E, McArthur S (2019) Estrogen Promotes Pro-resolving Microglial Behavior and Phagocytic Cell Clearance Through the Actions of Annexin A1. Frontiers in Endocrinology

McArthur S, Gobbetti T, Juban G, Desgeorges T, Theret M, Gondin J, Toller-Kawahisa JE, Reutelingsperger CP, Perretti M, Mounier R (2018) Annexin A1 drives macrophage skewing towards a resolving phenotype to accelerate the regeneration of muscle injury through AMPK activation BioRxiv – in press in J Clin Invest
Maggioli E, McArthur S, Mauro C, Kieswich J, Kusters DHM, Reutelingsperger CPM, Yaqoob M, Solito E (2016) Estrogen protects the blood–brain barrier from inflammation-induced disruption and increased lymphocyte trafficking. Brain, Behavior and Immunity 51, 212-222
 McArthur S, Gobbetti T, Kusters DHM, Reutelingsperger CP, Flower RJ, Perretti M (2015) Definition of a novel pathway centered on lysophosphatidic acid to recruit monocytes during the resolution phase of tissue inflammation. Journal of Immunology 195, 1139-1151
Gobbetti T, Coldewey SM, Chen J, McArthur S, Le Faouder P, Cenac N, Flower RJ, Thiemermann C, Perretti M (2014) Non-redundant protective properties of FPR2/ALX in polymicrobial murine sepsis. PNAS 111, 18685-18690

Cooray SN, Gobbetti T, Montero-Melendez T, McArthur S, Thompson D, Clark AJL, Flower RJ, Perretti M (2013) Ligand-specific conformational change of the G-protein-coupled receptor ALX/FPR2 determines proresolving functional responses. PNAS 110, 18232-18237
Cristante E, McArthur S, Mauro C, Maggioli E, Romero IA, Wylezinska-Arridge M, Couraud PO, Lopez-Tremoleda J, Christian HC, Weksler BB, Malaspina A, Solito E (2013)   Identification of an essential endogenous regulator of blood-brain barrier integrity, and its pathological and therapeutic implications. PNAS 110, 832-841
McArthur S, Cristante E, Paterno M, Christian H, Roncaroli F, Gillies GE, Solito E (2010) Annexin A1: a central player in the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective role of microglia. J Immunol 185, 6317-6328