Faculty of Medical Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Michael Gray

Reader in Cellular Physiology



B.Sc. Combined (Hons) Biochem/Microbiology. University of Leeds

Ph.D. Membrane Transport. University of London 


Elected member of The Physiological Society in 1992; Biophysical Society in 1993; American Physiological Society in 1995; Society of General Physiologists in 1996. Committee member of The Physiological Society and chairman of the Education and Information sub-committee (1997-2001). Member of the Meetings Advisory Committee of The Physiological Society 2003-2005

Convenor of the Epithelial and Membrane Transport Theme of the Physiological Society (2010- 2014)

Editor for Experimental Physiology (1999 - 2006).

Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the European Cystic Fibrosis Society (2016-2020).

Member of the Research and Medical Advisory Committee of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust (2001- 2004).

Member of the steering committee of the UK CF Microbiology Consortium 2005- 2008.

Deputy Chairman of the Research Advisory Committee of the CF Trust (2004 - 2013).

Member of the Strategy Advisory Board of the CF Trust (2014- )

Currently Chair of the Strategic Implementation Board of the CF Trust (2013 - ) 

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Research Interests

The major research interest of our lab is to understand the cellular mechanisms that orchestrate epithelial ion, fluid and mucus secretion in differentiated adult epithelial tissues, and how epithelial dysfunction impacts on the pathogenesis of chronic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, pancreatitis and COPD.

Epithelial ion (salt) transport is a fundamental function of all epithelial tissues and determines whole body fluid volume, blood pressure and acid-base balance, as well as regulating absorption and secretion of fluid and macromolecules such as digestive enzymes and mucus. Numerous diseases are caused by aberrant epithelial ion transport such as hypertension, cholera, polycystic kidney disease and cystic fibrosis, the most common, life-shortening, inherited disease in the white population.  Understanding which transport proteins are involved, how they coordinate ion and fluid transport by the cell, and what goes wrong in disease is vitally important, not only for a better understanding of the biology of the system but also in developing new treatments to combat major diseases.       

Current projects are concerned with identifying novel-non CFTR based approaches to correct the basic defect in cystic fibrosis, as well as the role of CFTR in CF-related diabetes. These projects are funded by two Strategic Research Centre Grants from the CF Trust as well as a Clinical Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust.   Other projects include;  Role of CFTR in airways smooth muscle hyper-responsiveness (starts Sept 2016) regulation of CFTR by the luminal microenvironment, role of CFTR and SLC26A anion transporters in co-ordinating pancreatic and airway bicarbonate secretion; the effect of alcohol, bile acids and cigarette smoke exposure on CFTR and other ion transporters..

We use a multidisciplinary approach employing a range of molecular, biochemical and cell physiological techniques. Much of our work is conducted at the cellular level but employs native tissue, or primary epithelial cells, as much as possible.

Current research is being funded by The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, The Welcome Trust, BBSRC, MRC and the JJ Hunter.

Research Expertise

Ion channel reconstitution
Fluorescent microscopy

Primary airway cell culture and differentiation

Stem cells and gene editing 


Undergraduate Teaching

Stage 1 Biomedical Science.  Cardiovascular Physiology

Stage 2 Biomedical Science. Cell and Membrane Transport, Cystic Fibrosis and  Cell Signalling

Stage 3 Biomedical Science. Undergraduate lab projects


Postgraduate Teaching

MSc Clinical Science. Lectures on Cystic Fibrosis

External Examiner for Biomedical Sciences, Sheffield University (2012-2016)