School of Biomedical Sciences

Staff Profiles

Professor Michael Taggart

Chair of Reproductive Sciences


Qualifications & Awards

BSc Honours in Physiology (IIi), University of Glasgow.
PhD in Biochemistry, University of London.

FRSB (Fellow of Royal Society of Biology - elected 2011) 

Previous Positions

2006-2007: Reader in Reproductive & Cardiovascular Physiology,
University of Manchester.
2001-2006: Senior Lecturer, Cardiovascular Research and Maternal
& Fetal Health Research Centre, University of Manchester.
2001-2001: Lecturer, Cardiovascular Research and Maternal & Fetal
Health Research Centre, University of Manchester.
1999-2001: Lecturer, Department of Medicine, University of
1998-1999: Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, Department of Medicine,
University of Manchester.
1995-1998: Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, The Physiological
Laboratory, University of Liverpool.
1991-1995: Post-doctoral research associate, The Physiological
Laboratory, University of Liverpool.
1986-1990: Pre-doctoral research assistant, Department of Cardiac
Medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial
College of Medicine, London.

1998-2006: Visiting Research Scientist, Boston Biomedical Research
Institute, Boston, MA, USA.


Member of the following Research Groups/Societies:
EU Parturition Group (
The Physiological Society (
Reproductive Bioengineering Forum
The British Association for the Advancement of Science (www.the-


Research Interests

My research focuses on the role that Ca2+-dependent signal transduction pathways have in regulating smooth muscle function. Smooth muscle is the contractile tissue surrounding all hollow organs in the body and its regulation plays a vital role in determining many physiological outcomes. Smooth muscle dysfunction thus contributes to many present-day clinical disorders that have a major health impact on society including hypertension,arteriosclerosis and preterm labour.

A particular focus is given to the cellular mechanisms underlying the remodelling of human uterine and vascular smooth muscle during pregnancy. The role of intracellular Ca2+ in influencing transduction pathways that centre on excitation-contraction coupling, metabolic-contraction coupling or transcriptional-contraction coupling in human uterine smooth muscle is a feature of current research efforts. A multidisciplinary approach encompassing cell physiology, structural, genomic and proteomic techniques is employed. This we will seek to compliment in the medium-term with integrated physiology (systems biology) strategies including mathematical modelling of uterine smooth muscle and blood vessel function.

External Collaborators:

Prof Henggui Zhang, School of Physics, University of Manchester.
Dr Peter Mitchell, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
Dr Clare Austin, Cardiovascular Research group, University of Manchester.
Dr Rachel Tribe, Kings College London.
Dr Andrew Blanks, University of Warwick.

Postgraduate Supervision

10 PhD/MD students successfully supervised for postgraduate research degrees since 2001. Presently supervise 2 PhD students & 1MD student.

I am happy to discuss research projects for qualified individuals with self-arranged funding in the topics of:

1. Molecular signatures of de novo blood vessel formation

2. Phenotyping physiological cardiac remodelling 

The work will involve human cell isolation, bioinformatics, quantitative PCR, Western blotting, siRNA and fluorescence microscopy of live and fixed cells.

Esteem Indicators

  • Invited speaker to >30 national & international conferences and research institutions.
  • Author of 12 invited reviews/commentaries.
  • Over 1,000 citations of peer-reviewed publications.
  • Grant reviewer for research applications to MRC, Wellcome Trust, BBSRC, EPSRC, Action Medical Research, BHF, Wellbeing, The Health Research Board of Eire, Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR, France).
  • Scientific Reviewer for papers submitted to Cardiovascular Research, American Journal of Physiology, Hypertension, Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, , BMC Physiology, British Journal of Pharmacology, Clinical Science, European Journal of Physiology, Experimental Physiology, Human Reproduction, Journal of Endocrinology, Journal of Cellular and Molecular Cardiology, Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Journal of Physiology, Molecular Human Reproduction, Placenta, Clinical Proteomics, Reproductive Sciences, Reproduction.
  • External Examiner for theses of postgraduate students from Imperial College London (twice), Queen’s University Belfast (twice), University of Glasgow, University of Warwick, University of Aberdeen, University of Liverpool, King’s College London, Newcastle University Australia (twice), University of Galway Eire, Caledonian University, University College Dublin, Eire, University of Bristol (twice), University of Edinburgh, University of Nottingham.
  • Editorial Reviewer for Clinical Science 2001-2004. Editorial Board member of BMC Physiology. Editorial Board member of BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. Editorial Board Member Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (2003-2006). Associate Editor Reproductive Sciences. Associate Editor of Physiological Reports. Scientific representative of the British Maternal and Fetal Medicine Society Committee.



Research has been funded since 2010 by:

Medical Research Council
British Heart Foundation
The Wellcome Trust
Action Medical Research


Cardiovascular, smooth muscle, blood vessels, uterus, pregnancy, preterm labour.


I teach on several postgraduate/undergraduate degree courses. The lectures include information from research activities associated with the taught topics, often displaying examples of experimental data, in order to encourage student curiosity, critical thought and learning from a research/evidence base. 

Postgraduate Teaching.

I am programme lead for (and teach on) the Cardiovascular Science in Health and Disease MRes degree.

Module information:

In addition, each year our laboratory supports students to undertake the 6 month research project component of this (or other) MRes degree. Students are welcome to inquire about forthcoming research topics. Examples of research projects offered in recent years include:

• Proteomic signatures of human blood vessel maturation

• Investigating Structural Features of Cardiac Remodelling

• Novel Regulation of HumanUteroplacental Function by Ca2+/Calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II

Undergraduate teaching.

I teach on the BSc Honours Physiological Sciences degree course (


Reproductive and Developmental Physiology (

Advanced Systems Physiology: Cardiovascular, Respiratory & Renal (   

I also teach on the BSc Honours Pharmacology degree course (


Cardiovascular System for Pharmacologists (

In addition, each year our laboratory hosts BSc Honours students undertaking their final year 9/10-week Project module.  Examples of research projects offered in recent years include:

• Developmental Changes in the Expression of Striated Muscle Sarcomeric Proteins

• The Effect of Pregnancy on the Expression of Cardiac EC Coupling Proteins

• Use of Small Molecule Inhibitors to Reduce Cytokine Proinflammatory Signalling in Human Uteroplacental Cells