Dr Alastair Barr

Dr Alastair Barr

  • 1989 - BSc. (Hons) Pharmacology, University of Glasgow
  • 1994 - DPhil. Pharmacology, University of Oxford

I joined the University of Westminster in 2011 as a Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology and Physiology.  My main research interest is in the structure, function and regulation of protein tyrosine phosphatases and the role of these signalling enzymes in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.   

I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology from the University of Glasgow and a DPhil in Pharmacology from the University of Oxford.  I carried out post-doctoral research with Professor David Manning at the University of Pennsylvania on G protein-coupled receptor signalling supported by an American Heart Association fellowship.  After this I worked as post-doctoral researcher at Duke University, USA in the laboratory of Professor Ralph Snyderman on chemoattractant receptor signalling in immune cells and was subsequently appointed as an Assistant Research Professor.

After a short period in the biotech sector I took up a Team Leader position in the phosphorylation-dependent signalling group with Professor Stefan Knapp at the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) Oxford.  At the SGC, I led a project on large-scale structural biology of protein tyrosine phosphatases and also contributed to kinase and membrane protein structural biology projects.

My research uses a combination of protein structural studies, cell-based and in vitro assays, molecular biology, protein biochemistry and more recently flow cytometry and T-TAS for studying platelets.

I have published peer-reviewed articles in leading scientific and biomedical research journals, have written book chapters and am Guest Editing a collection for the Scientific Video Journal JoVE. I regularly present my work at national and international conferences. I am a member of the British Pharmacological Society and Society for Endocrinology and a fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.

Much of my research is centered around protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) which are signalling molecules that play critical roles in cellular regulation underlying diverse physiological events.  Aberrant signalling of these enzymes as a result of genetic mutation or altered expression levels has been associated with several diseases, specifically cancer.  One current area of research involves pharmacological modulation of PTP activity as a therapeutic approach. I am also investigated the role of the extracellular domain of specific receptor-type PTPs since this is currently poorly understood.  More recently my research has been investigating the function of PTPs in platelets in relation to thrombosis.

I also have a research interest in physical activity/sedentary behaviour and cardiovascular disease.

Former PhD students: Myrsini Tsimon, Olga Dorofejeva

Current PhD students: Lina El-Badaoui, Neha Thomas

Applicants to lab

Applicants (visitors, PhD students) interested in working in the laboratory should contact Dr Barr (a.barr1@westminster.ac.uk)

  • Medicines Diagnostics and Disease Modelling
  • Research Centre for Optimal Health
  • Cognitive Computing

Sustainable Development Goals
In brief

Research areas

cardiovascular disease, diabetes, protein tyrosine phosphatases, structure-based drug design, platelets, thrombosis and haematology

Skills / expertise

protein expression, protein purification, molecular biology, T-TAS, in vitro & cell-based assays, molecular pharmacology and protein structural studies

Supervision interests

PhD, post-doc, MSc, visiting students