Dr Stephen Getting


Dr Stephen J. Getting is Principal Lecturer in Pharmacology at the University of Westminster. Dr Getting has over 20 years’ experience in unraveling the anti-inflammatory effects of novel endogenous peptides in a model of arthritis, cardiovascular disease, asthma and neuroinflammation.  Graduating from The School of Pharmacy, UCL and completing a PhD in Immunopharmacology at Bart’s and Royal London Medical Schools. He has worked in Industry (Wellcome Research Laboratories), WHRI Contract Research, and Universities including Monash Medical School, Australia, Kings College London, Imperial College London and University of Naples, Italy, where he held a fellowship. This has allowed for a multi-discipline research career with over 150 articles published (including 60 full publications), being awarded the Gordon Van Arman Award for Excellence in Inflammation Research from the Inflammation Research Association and Derek Willoughby Young Investigator Award, World Congress on Inflammation. He has acted as a PhD supervisor to 12 students and undertaken PhD/Chaired Examinations at QMUL, University of Copenhagen and University of Westminster. He has served on the Schools Research Committee and was the research lead for Cell Communication Research Cluster and returned for RAE/REF since 2008.

Specialties: Dr Getting is an experienced researcher and educator, with a strong track record in delivering research outcomes, supervision and educating students in pharmacological research. He has strong leadership ensuring goals are met and people reach their full potential, with publications in Nature Medicine, J. Ex. Med, British Journal of Pharmacology, Journal of Immunology, Arthritis and Rheumatism, TIPS and FEBS Letters, FASEB J.


Current research 

I am a pharmacologist interested in unraveling the biological effects of endogenous modulators and natural products on the host inflammatory response and cell protection and have supervised 12 students to completion of their PhD. My main interest is understanding the role played by the melanocortin peptides and natural products. The aim of this research is to understand their mechanism of action of these compounds and identification of the target receptors for pharmacological manipulation and subsequent disease treatment. Understanding how these naturally occurring anti-inflammatory agents exhibit a dual mechanism of action i.e. an early phase inhibition of cytokine release and a late induction of pro-resolving pathways is an exciting development. This research will hopefully lead to development of novel therapeutics to treat some of the biggest debilitating diseases that we face including arthritis and cerebral ischaemia. At present my main research areas involve looking at the biological effects of these peptides and natural products in human osteoarthritic cell-lines and in models of neuroinflammation and neuroprotection.

Research group 

Tissue Architecture and Regeneration Research Group

Research students 

Vedia Can, Sirisha Yerramalli

Research projects 

Investigation into the role that melanocortin and other endogenous anti-inflammatory peptides play in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis determining their chondroprotective and anti-inflammatory role. In addition projects are looking at the role of these endogenous peptides in cerebral ischaemia and neuroprotection.

Transferable skills include 

Experimental design and implementation, statistical analysis, cell culture, biochemical assays, PCR and western blotting.

Projects areas include 

Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis (chondroprotection) and cerebral ischaemia (neuroprotection)

Membership of professional bodies

  • British Pharmacological Society
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Selected Publications

Wickstead, E.S., Irving, M.A., Getting, S.J. and McArthur, S. (2021). Exploiting formyl peptide receptor 2 to promote microglial resolution: a new approach to Alzheimer's disease treatment. The FEBS Journal. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/febs.15861 

Can, V., Locke, I.C., Kaneva, M., Kerrigan, M.J.P., Merlino, F., De Pascale, C., Grieco, P. and Getting, S.J. (2020). Novel anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective effects of the human melanocortin MC1 receptor agonist BMS-470539 dihydrochloride and human melanocortin MC3 receptor agonist PG-990 on lipopolysaccharide activated. Eur J. Pharmacol (872); 172971 

Wickstead, E. Getting, S.J., Biggs, C.S. and McArthur, S. (2020). Reversal of beta-Amyloid-Induced Microglial Toxicity In Vitro by Activation of Fpr2/3. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2139192. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/2139192

Momen-Heravi FGetting SJMoschos SA. (2018) Extracellular vesicles and their nucleic acids for biomarker discovery. Pharmacol Ther. 2018 Dec;192:170-187. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2018.08.002

Rossi S, Maisto R, Gesualdo C, Trotta MC, Ferraraccio F, Kaneva MK, Getting SJ, Surace E, Testa F, Simonelli F, Grieco P, Merlino F, Perretti M, D'Amico M, Di Filippo C. (2016) Activation of Melanocortin Receptors MC 1 and MC 5 Attenuates Retinal Damage in Experimental Diabetic Retinopathy. Mediators Inflamm. Published online 2016 Jan 12. doi:  10.1155/2016/7368389

Holloway PM, Durrenberger PF, Trutschl M, Cvek U, Cooper D, Orr AW, Perretti M, Getting SJ, Gavins FN. Both MC1 and MC3 Receptors Provide Protection From Cerebral Ischemia-Reperfusion-Induced Neutrophil Recruitment. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2015 Sep; 35(9): 1936–1944. Published online 2015 Jun 25. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.115.305348

Magdalena K. Kaneva, Mark J.P. Kerrigan, Paolo Grieco, G. Paul Curley, Ian C. Locke and Stephen J. Getting (2014). Melanocortin peptides protect chondrocytes from mechanically induced cartilage injury. Biochem Pharmacol: S0006-2952(14)00492-4. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2014.08.019. [Epub ahead of print] 

Intekhab-Alam, NY., White, OB., Getting, SJ., Petsa, A., Knight, RA., Chowdrey, HS., Townsend, PA., Lawerence, KM. and Locke, IC. (2013) Urocortin protects chondrocytes from NO-induced apoptosis: a future therapy for osteoarthritis? Cell Death and Disease 4:e717

Gavins, FN., Hughes, EL., Buss, NA., Holloway, PM., Getting, SJ., Buckingham, JC (2012). Leukocyte recruitment in the brain in sepsis: involvement of the annexin 1- FPR2/ALX anti-inflammatory system. FASEB J. 26(12): 4977-89. 

Magdalena K. Kaneva, Mark J.P. Kerrigan, Paolo Grieco, G. Paul Curley, Ian C. Locke and Stephen J. Getting (2012). Anti-Inflammatory effects of Melanocortin peptides in TNF-α activated human C-20/A4 chondrocytes. Br J. Pharmacol 167(1) 67-79.

Holloway, PM., Smith, HK., Renshaw, D., Flower RJ., Getting SJ. and Gavins FN (2011). Targeting the melanocortin receptor system for anti-stroke therapy. Trends Pharmacol Sci 32(2): 90-98. 

Patel, HB., Bombardieri, M., Sampaio, A., D'Acuquisto, F., Gray, M., Grieco, P., Getting, S.J., Pitzalis, C. and Perretti, M. (2010) Anti-inflammatory and antiosteoclastogenesis properties of endogenous melanocortin receptor type 3 in experimental arthritis. Faseb J. 24(12): 4835-4843.


  • Tissue Architecture and Regeneration Research Group