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Research groups

David Paterson

DPhil, DSc


Head of Department

  • Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology
  • Hon. Director Burdon Sanderson Cardiac Science Centre
  • Fellow of Merton College

David Paterson completed his doctoral studies (D.Phil, New College 1989) in the University Laboratory of Physiology at Oxford having been a graduate of the University of Otago (NZ 1979), and the University of Western Australia (1985). Following a MRC post doc/Junior Research Fellowship (Christ Church) in Oxford and at UCSD; in 1991 he was appointed to a BHF lectureship then to an established faculty post (University Lecturership) in 1994 and made a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford.  He was made a Professor of Physiology in 2002 and in 2005 received a Doctor of Science from the University of Western Australia.

He has been Associate Head then Deputy Head (Vice Dean) of the Division of Medical Sciences from 2008-16. During this period he Chaired the Divisions Research, Personnel and Education Committees. He has been a member of the executive committee of the BHF Centre of Research Excellence at Oxford, and a member of the national Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) and Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) panels. From 2011 to 2016 he served as Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Physiology and is now Consulting Editor for Physiology. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and in 2014 was elected an Honorary Fellow of The Royal Society of New Zealand.  In 2016 he delivered the Brookhart Award Lecture in Oregon and was appointed Head of Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics at Oxford.  He was elected as an inaugural Fellow of The Physiological Society in 2017.  In 2018 he delivered the Carl Ludwig Distinguished Lecture for the American Physiological Society at Experimental Biology, and in 2018 elected President-elect of The Physiological Society.  In 2019 he was elected a Fellow of the American Physiological Society.

David Paterson leads a research team in the area of cardiac neurobiology. They are interested in how both branches of the cardiac autonomic nervous system communicate at the end organ level and whether oxidative stress plays a role in uncoupling pre-synaptic and post synaptic signalling. The endogenous gas nitric oxide is now thought to be a key intermediary in cardiac inter/intracellular signalling, where it has been shown to regulate several ion channels that control cardiac excitability. His group has developed a method for targeting the enzyme involved in making nitric oxide using a gene transfer approach involving cell specific viral vectors to study the physiology of this messenger in normal and diseased hearts.