Professor Paul Kemp


School of Biosciences

+44 (0)29 2087 9347
Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX

Research overview

My complementary research interests are in the general areas of regenerative medicine and respiratory molecular physiology, and are:

  1. Human ES and iPS cell fate-determination, function and pathology, with specific emphasis on Huntington's Disease (Patch-clamp and calcium imaging).
  2. Calcium sensing receptor in airway signal transduction and inflammatory lung diseases;.
  3. Molecular physiology of O2 sensing ion channels (K2P KCa and P2X channels);
  4. Genetically encoded sensor/transducer systems for programmed cell death in cell replacement therapies (unnatural amino acid synthetic biology).

Each research theme has been continuously and independently funded since my appointment to the post of Lecturer at The University of Leeds in October 1997. I have a high international profile in the field of control of cellular excitability, and have a particularly strong track record in the area of oxygen sensing, including a very highly cited paper in Science some 10 years ago. Recently, Prof Allen and I have been collaborating in the field of disease modeling using neurons generated from patient-derived iPS cells and were asked in 2010 to join an International Consortium aimed at unravelling the molecular basis of neuronal dyfunction in Huntington's Disease, this was renewed in 2014. Recently, we have made a particularly important breakthrough, linking HD genotype to neuronal glutamate excitotoxicity processes - these data, along with the basic cell biology of HD patient-derived iPS generated neruons - has been recently published in Cell Stem Cell (IF=26). The collaboration with Prof Riccardi has resulted in a successful patent concerning a novel treatment strategy for inflammatory lung diseases. This exciting avenue has attracted significant venture capital and big pharma attention, and capitalization is expected by 2015.

I graduated from The University of Leeds with a BSc in Physiology in 1986 and from Oxford University with a DPhil in Physiology in 1989. I held a post-doctoral post in The University of Manchester, a position of lecturer at the University of Dundee and was a Human Frontiers Science Programme Fellow at The University of Southern California. I joined The School of Biomedical Sciences at Leeds University in November 1997. I took up a Chair in Physiology at Cardiff University on 1st September 2004.

Research grants and patents


  • Oct 2013 - Patent. Generating fully functional neurons from human pluripotent stem cells in 30 days (with ND Allen).
  • Sep 2013 - Patent. Use of calcilytic compounds as an asthma therapeutic (with D Riccardi (Cardiff), JPT Ward (Kings London) and C Corrigan (Kings London)).

Grants awarded and current

  • 2014-2019 - MRC Capital CRI award. UK Dementia Platform. £8M (Cardiff component ca. £1M, with ND Allen, V Buchman, E Lloyd-Evans from BIOSI).
  • 2014-2017 - CHDI. Programme Grant. 503553/D. Functional characterisation of iPSC-derived medium spiny neurons. 2 years. £740,000 (with ND Allen).
  • 2014-2015 - CHDI. Equipment Grant. Modeling HD in neural networks generated from patient iPSCs: optogentic regulation of synaptic activity of FRET reporters. £92, 000 (with ND Allen).
  • 2013-2018 - EU Framework 7. Collaborative Project (small to medium-scale focused research project). Repair HD: First in man use of iPSCs for treatment of Huntington's Disease. ca.€6,700,000 (with 7 other centres, £2.2M to Cardiff).
  • 2013-2015 - CHDI. Programme Grant 503553/C. Functional characterisation of hIPSC-derived medium spiny neurons. 2 years. Competititive renewal ca. £43,000 (with ND Allen).
  • 2012-2015 -  British Heart Foundation PG/12/37/29610. Mechanism of Epo-dependent remodelling of mammalian oxygen sensing 3 years. £193,845 (with D Riccardi and ND Allen)
  • 2012-2014 - CHDI. Programme Grant. 503553/B Functional characterisation of hES-derived medium spiny neurons. 2 years.  Equipment and extra FTE. ca. £50,000 (with ND Allen).
  • 2012-2014 - CHDI. Programme Grant. 503553/A Functional characterisation of hES-derived medium

Staff members

Postgraduate research students

Research links