Executive Committee

See also Past Officers of The Physiological Society

President: Richard Vaughan-JoneRichard Vaughan-Joness

Richard Vaughan-Jones is Professor of Cellular Physiology at Oxford. He is co-founder and Joint-Director of the Burdon Sanderson Cardiac Science Centre, in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics, and Tutorial Fellow in Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Exeter College, Oxford. He studied Physiology at the University of Bristol (BSc, PhD), subsequently specialising in membrane ion-transport. He researches the mechanism and function of intracellular H+ ion sensing, signalling and regulation. His work centres on the heart, but also cancer and arterial chemoreception. He was the first to identify Cl/HCO3 exchange activity in non-erythroid tissue, Na-HCO3 and Cl/OH transporter activity in heart, and the role of gap-junctions and carbonic anhydrase enzymes in the spatial control of pH in the heart and in tumours.

Richard Vaughan-Jones was elected to The Physiological Society in 1978. He has served as an Editor of The Journal of Physiology and as a Trustee of the Society and, for three years, was Deputy Head of his Oxford College. He firmly believes in the importance of Physiology as an essential life-sciences/medical discipline, and in the pre-eminence of the Society for growing and sustaining a dynamic, research community.


Deputy President: David Eisner

David Eisner is the British Heart Foundation Chair of Cardiac Physiology in the University of Manchester.  Previously, he worked in University College London and the University of Liverpool.  He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.  His research focuses on the regulation of intracellular calcium in cardiac muscle and he is interested in both normal physiology and also in the alterations that lead to cardiac arrhythmias.

He gave his first communication in 1977 and became a member of The Physiological Society in 1980.  He  has served as its International Secretary and as Chair of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Physiology.  He feels strongly that Physiology has a key role, not only as an important subject in its own right but, also, as a key discipline linking basic science to clinical medicine.


Meetings Secretary: Ken O'Halloran

Ken O’Halloran is Professor of Physiology at University College Cork, Ireland. He is head of the Department of Physiology and Director of UCC’s Biological Research Services Unit encompassing the National Transgenic and Germ Free Facility. He is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, currently serving on the academy Executive as General Secretary and he is Executive Editor of the Irish Journal of Medical Science, in addition to editorial roles for other publications. Ken read physiology for his primary degree (BSc, 1992) and was awarded his doctorate by the National University of Ireland in 1995, having trained in Aidan Bradford’s laboratory at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Following postdoctoral fellowships at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and at the University of Wisconsin –Madison (in the laboratory of the carotid body guru - Jerry Bisgard), he returned to Ireland to take up a lectureship in physiology at University College Dublin (chaired by EP Editor-in-Chief Paul McLoughlin) and returned to his native Cork and alma mater in 2011 to take up the Chair vacated by Edward J. Johns.

Ken is a respiratory physiologist with a current interest in hypoxic remodelling in the cardiorespiratory system, at multiple levels, in translational models of disease. The major focus of his group at present is respiratory muscle plasticity in models of chronic intermittent hypoxia. He is director of the pre-clinical sciences stream in the Medicine programme at UCC, and as head of department he oversees the BSc Physiology degree programme in Cork, in addition to significant contributions by the department to several other allied health programmes.

Ken was elected a Trustee of The Physiological Society in 2012 and he has served on the Membership & Grants Committee and Meetings Committee. He was appointed Meetings Secretary in 2014.


Honorary Treasurer: Anne King

Anne King is currently the Programme Director for Human Physiology at the University of Leeds and has active research interests relating to Neuroscience and Neurophysiology. Her group works on signalling and neuronal communication in the mammalian spinal cord.The work focuses on synaptic modulation of somatosensory processing in the sensory dorsal horn with a particular emphasis on synaptic transmission between peripheral sensory afferents and target spinal neurons that underpin nociception (pain).  Anne has been a Member of The Society since 1987 and has contributed actively to The Society's activities at many different levels.  Anne served previously on The Society’s Council (2004-07) and was a member of the International, Education and Grants Committees.  She was also a member of the Local Scientific Programme Committee for IUPS 2013. 

As Honorary Treasurer of The Society, Anne chairs the Finance Committee whose remit is “To take delegated responsibility on behalf of the Council of Trustees for overseeing all financial aspects of The Society, to support its short and long term ability to achieve its charitable objects”.  As Honorary Treasurer, it is Anne's responsibility to present financial data to Council in a user friendly format and explain the potential financial consequences of decisions it may take.  Anne works closely with The Society's Director of Finance to do this.


Chair, Education & Outreach: Blair GrubbBlair Grubb

Blair Grubb is Head of the School of Life Sciences in the Institute of Learning and Teaching at the University of Liverpool. He has been a member of The Physiological Society for over 25 years and is currently Chair of the Education & Outreach Committee that promotes physiology as a separate academic discipline to a number of audiences including schools, universities, government and the general public. The Education & Outreach Committee coordinates activity and processes applications for grants schemes that promote undergraduate and postgraduate research training, outreach programmes, public engagement in science and pedagogical research in universities related to physiology and neuroscience.

He is a strong advocate of physiology as a separate academic discipline due to the unique approach that physiologists bring to scientific problems. He is also very keen to ensure that physiology teaching, as a separate degree programme or as part of an integrated Biological Sciences degree, is clearly identifiable and is promoted within any university curriculum. 

Blair is a neuroscientist whose research interests are mainly focused on sensory systems. He has a longstanding interesting in the pathophysiology of inflammatory and neuropathic pain and the identification of molecular targets for their treatment. More recently he has developed an interest in plasticity in the auditory system in an attempt to understand the pathophysiological responses to noise-induced hearing loss with special emphasis on auditory afferent nerve fibres in the cochlea. Blair also collaborates with scientists at Leicester on projects relating to stroke and ventricular arrhythmias. 

Chair, Membership & Grants: Rachel Tribe

Rachel Tribe, a member of The Physiological Society since 1996, became a Trustee and Director in 2013 and is currently Chair of the Membership and Grants Committee and a co-Trustee lead for ‘Equality and Diversity’ within The Society.   She is committed to the promotion of physiology through teaching and research and the active engagement of schoolchildren and the wider public in The Society’s activities.   

Dr Tribe trained as a physiologist at University of Sheffield and gained her PhD at UMDS, London.  Rachel, now Reader in Women’s Health at King’s College London, heads the ‘Parturition Research group’, an active and well-funded research team of scientists and clinicians.  Her group focuses on translational research aimed at tackling preterm birth and other pregnancy associated conditions.  Specific research interests include uterine smooth muscle physiology/pharmacology, the innate immune system in pregnancy and the identification of biomarkers for prediction of preterm birth.  

Other roles include Honorary Treasurer for the UK Preterm Birth Clinical Study Group and Assessment Lead for MB BS Year 2 at King’s College London.   


Chair, Policy: Mary MorrellMary Morell

Mary Morrell is a respiratory physiologist within the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London. She received her PhD from London University in 1994, followed by a Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Upon her return to the UK she established the Academic Unit of Sleep and Breathing with clinical colleagues at the Royal Brompton Hospital. The aim of the unit is to investigate the causes and consequences of sleep-related breathing disorders; translating research into improvements in patient care. Her current research focuses on the cardiovascular and neurological impact of sleep apnoea, particularly in older people.

Mary is committed to education and is involved in both postgraduate and undergraduate teaching. She has served on the Board of Directors for the American Thoracic Society and is currently on the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. When not in the lab, Mary has also carried out research projects at high altitude and held a Wellcome Trust Science-Arts award.


Chair, Publications: Prem Kumar 

Prem Kumar is Professor of Physiological Science at the University of Birmingham where he is also the Director of Education for the College of Medical and Dental Sciences. Prem completed his D.Phil at the University of Oxford, where he first became interested in understanding how the body senses and responds to changes in its blood chemical composition.

His research interests remain largely in the field of chemoreception, with a particular emphasis on carotid body transduction mechanisms in health and disease and in the cardiorespiratory reflex responses to hypoxia and changes in blood glucose concentrations.

Prem has had a long history of service with The Physiological Society, working as Deputy Editor in Chief on The Journal of Physiology and as an Editor for Experimental Physiology. In addition, he chaired the Meetings Committee of The Society and was a member of The Society’s Executive between 2006-2010 and was on the Organising Committee of IUPS 2013. He is also a member of the International Committee of the American Physiological Society and has held a consulting editor role for the Journal of Applied Physiology.

In his new role as Chair of the Publications Committee, Prem is keen to ensure that The Society’s Journals retain and improve their reputation as class leading for original research papers in all aspects of physiology.