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Professor Susan Brain BSc PhD

Professor of Pharmacology


King's College London
Franklin-Wilkins Building
Waterloo Campus
150 Stamford Street
London SE1 9NH
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 4453


Professor Brain obtained her BSc and PhD in Pharmacology from the University of London. She took up a lectureship in Pharmacology at King’s College in 1989. She was promoted to Reader in 1993 and Professor of Pharmacology in 1998.  She is Head of the Centre for Integrative Biomedicine, Head of the Vascular Biology Section (Cardiovascular Division), and Head of the Pharmacology Department.

She is a member of the Society of Biology Education Committee.  From 2003-2009 she was Vice President of the British Pharmacology Society of Academic Affairs, involved in developing the BPS Advanced Diploma in Pharmacology. She has previously served on a range of academic and research committees for national and international bodies that include the British Inflammation Research Association (1997-2003), the European Neuropeptide Club (1999-2003; 2010-2013) and the Bayliss and Starling Committee 2003-2013. She has served on the Editorial Board of the British Journal of Pharmacology (1991-1995; 2000-2003), the Editorial Board for European Journal of Pharmacology (2003-2013) and is on the  board of Neuropeptides (2003-), and Molecular Neuroscience and the Journal of Inflammation (2003-). 

She is a Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society and a Fellow of the Society of Biology. She was recipient of the BPS Sandoz prize for her scientific contributions to pharmacology (1989), and won the Women in Inflammation Science Award presented at the World Inflammation Congress (2003), a King’s Supervisory Award (2008) and the BPS AstraZeneca prize for Women (2010).

She has sat on the MRC Industrial studentships panel (2007-2009) and the BBSRC Animal Sciences Grants Committee (2010-14); and is a Chair of the William Harvey Research Foundation Grants Committee (2010-14); Member of the MRC/BBSRC Healthy Ageing Grant Initiative Committee (2013) and Member of the Industrial/BPS Funding Consortium (2004-present). She is a member of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) panel for Biological Sciences (2014).

Research interests

Professor Brain has published over 180 research publications and been involved in the study of microcirculation since the early 1980s. Her early studies concentrated on the activity of vasoactive and pro-inflammatory arachidonate metabolites, in adipose tissue and skin, providing some of the first evidence for the presence of leukotriene B4 in psoriasis.

She first became interested in the sensory neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) in 1985 (Brain et al., Nature 1985), when she discovered its potent vasodilator activity. It is now realised that CGRP antagonists are of benefit in migraine. Her studies of the cardiovascular role of CGRP have extended to investigate the role of this and related peptides and mechanisms in cardiovascular diseases and ageing.

Recent research into the role of non-selective cation channels transient receptor potential channels TRPV1 and TRPA1 and other channels, primarily localised to the sensory nerves, that release CGRP have revealed that these channels are involved in mediating inflammatory pain (relevant to arthritis); itch (relevant to skin conditions), as well as cardiovascular regulation and sepsis. This research links expertise in studying the peripheral microvasculature with sensory nerves and CGRP. 


Group members


Research Assistants

  • Dr Joao de Sousa Valente
  • Dr Dibesh Thapa

PhD students

  • Ms Fulye Argunhan
  • Ms Hiba Chaudry
  • Mr Ali Zarban
Visit the king's research portalfor sue Brain's publications
Research Puff
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