Professor Isabel Bermudez-Diaz

Professor in Neuropharmacology

Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

Isabel Bermudez-Diaz


Areas of expertise

  • Pharmacology of ligand-gated ion channels
  • Electrophysiological recordings from ligand gated ion channels expressed heterologously in Xenopus oocytes.
  • The substituted cysteine scanning method applied to ion channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes
  • Mutagenesis and concatenation of ligand gated ion channels

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

  • Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology (Double Honours Module) 
  • Molecular Medicine (Honours module)
  • MSc Module Molecular Basis of Human Genetic Diseases


I have surpervised more than 20 PhD student, whose work has focused on insect or human Cys loop ligand gated ion channels.

I am currently supervising two PhD students as a Director of studies and three others as a second supervisor.


The Molecular Neuroscience research group in the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences has a long-term interest in the structural and functional relationships of ligand-gated ion channels, with particular emphasis on human nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) expressed in the central nervous system. These receptors have been implicated in a wide range of diseases of the brain, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, Tourette syndrome, schizophremia, autism, drug addiction and attention deficit disorders, and are therefore high-quality targets for drug therapy.

The overall goal of the research is to map and identify functional sites in the receptors that help us to understand better the how these important molecules generates signals in the brain. These sites can provide new strategies to develop more specific and safer therapeutic drugs.

The techniques of molecular biology, in vitro functional studies using primary or clonal cell cultures, radioligand-binding assays and electrophysiological recordings from the ligand-gated ion channels are combined to provide a multidisciplinary approach to the topic.

Research grants and awards

  • Leverhulme 
  • Brookes University Research Excellence Award
  • Nigel Groome PhD sudentship awards

Research projects

Current Projects include:

  • Characterisation of plant- and animal-derived compounds for probing the structure and function of nAChRs to provide new leads for the development of selective therapeutic substances.
  • Mapping and identification of allosteric pathways in nicotinic receptors.
  • Effects of RIC-3 polymorphisms on the expression of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors



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Professional information


Invited Talks:

  • 2013    Neurotalk-2013, Xian, China
  • 2014    3rd Welcome Trust Conference on Nicotinic Receptor Research, Cambridge, UK
  • 2015    Membrane Signalling and Transport: Computation and Experiment, April, Oxford
  • 2015    IST 18thWorld Congress 2015, September, Oxford
  • 2016    Annual Meeting of the Chilena Pharmacological Society, December, Chiloe, Chile
  • 2017    Workshop Instituto Butantan – United Kingdom, Science Dissemination, Animal Biology and               Neuroscience, March, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • 2017    Nicotinic receptor research Conference, May, Crete,Greece

Further details

Press, publicity and reviews


Other publicity

  • Meeting of the Chilean Pharmacological Society, Chiloe, Chile, December 2016
  • Workshop Instituto Butantan – United Kingdom Science Dissemination, Animal Biology and Neuroscience, sao paulo, Brazil, March 2017