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Dr Philip Langton

Dr Philip Langton

Dr Philip Langton
B.Sc., Ph.D.(Lanc.)

Senior Lecturer in Physiology

Area of research

Regulation of the contraction of the muscular walls of small arteries

Office D11
Biomedical Sciences Building,
University Walk, Bristol BS8 1TD
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 331 2296


Funded by the British Heart Foundation, my laboratory conducts research on the physiology of small arterial blood vessels. We use a wide number of techniques to investigate, at the molecular, cellular and intact tissue levels, how the contraction of the muscular walls of small arteries is regulated.

In health, our cardiovascular system manages a Herculean task; supplying the tissues of the body with arterial blood and returning venous and lymphatic drainage to the heart. The muscular wall of small arteries exists in a state of partial contraction, from which it can relax or contract further in order to alter the calibre of the artery and so regulate the flow of blood. Our goal has consistently been to explain control mechanisms in normal healthy tissue. There is good evidence that small arteries behave aberrantly in a wide range of disease states, including essential and pulmonary hypertension, diabetes and peripheral vascular disease. Small arterial dysfunction may not be the root cause, but a robust understanding of how such vessels are regulated in health may facilitate development of rational drug therapies for the management of vascular diseases.

Often, our work focuses on how ion channels regulate excitation, but more recently we have begun to consider the possibility that accumulation of sodium in smooth muscle cells may determine excitability as well as sensitivity to adrenoceptor stimulation; a phenomenon that has been described previously, but for which there is presently no mechanistic understanding. Other work focuses on the origin and mechanism of the myogenic response to pressure of small arterial vessels, something that is fundamental to the normal function of the cardiovascular system.


My teaching is either in year one of the medical programme or year three of the Physiological Sciences programme.

I am responsible for the Concepts and Techniques Element; a collaborative block of year three teaching that is shared between the departments of Anatomy and Physiology.

I organise and teach on a separate element of year three teaching, 'The cardiovascular system in health and disease'.

I currently coordinate the Undergraduate Ambassador's Scheme that provides year three students with an alternative to lab-based research projects, placing them in local secondary schools where they obtain first hand experience of teaching as well as conducting a research project.

I am a member of the department's Teaching Committee as well as the Faculty representative on both the eLearning Advisors Network eLAN, the eLearning Systems Project Board and the Portal Project Board.


Below you will find a list of links to learning and teaching resources that I've developed in recent years:

An on-line tutorial that helps you develop the strategies useful in dealing with data interpretation or data handling problems. This on-line tutorial will take you about 45 minutes to an hour to work through and assumes that you have covered some cardiovascular physiology (first year level).

Another very similar on-line tutorial. This tutorial should also take you about 45 minutes to an hour to work through and will be useful if you have covered basic cell physiology and need to consider the relation between membrane permeability (opening of ion channels) and membrane potential. Although designed for first year students, students in second and even final year have found this tutorial effective and even challenging.

A highly popular collection of resources developed for element 3 which is part of the Unit 'Molecular and Cellular Basis of Medicine' in first year medicine. There are all manor of materials, MCQs, extra notes on the 'ulnar nerve' laboratory practical as well as so-called 'tutorials' on parts of the course that students find difficult. There is a link to this collection of resources within the Blackboard site supporting the Unit 'Molecular and Cellular Basis of Medicine'.



School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience

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Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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