Dr Una Martin

Reader In Clinical Pharmacology

Pharmacy and Therapeutics


Contact details

School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


Dr Una Martin is a Reader in Clinical Pharmacology and a Consultant Physician with a special interest in Hypertension. She is Programme Director of the NIHR/Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility and College Lead for Athena SWAN.


Dr Martin is 5th year lead for Therapeutics and had a key role in the development and implementation of the Therapeutics Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and more recently the new competency-based “Prescriber’s Licence”, a compulsory element of the MBChB. The new Licence extends the previous Therapeutics OSCE assessment to include newer aspects of prescribing, such as use of eBNF and electronic submission of Yellow Cards and gives Birmingham graduates firm knowledge of prescribing in accordance to the recommendations of “Tomorrows Doctors”. She delivers a series of lectures to the 3rd year MBChB, Therapeutic "roadshows" to the final year students, is lead Examiner for the prestigious Alison Thornley award, examines the 4th year Special Study Module posters, supervises BMedSci student projects and lectures on two modules of this course.


Dr Martin’s interests include the mechanisms underlying reduced pain sensitivity in hypertension using the nocioceptive flexion reflex and tests of peripheral nerve function (with Professor Chris Ring, SPORTEX).  With Professor Richard McManus in Primary Care Clinical Sciences she is investigating the accuracy and acceptability of clinic, home and ambulatory measurement in different ethnic groups. A recent systematic review relating to this work was submitted to the forthcoming NICE hypertension guideline update by invitation and informs the health economic model used by NICE. Dr Martin has published clinically important studies on right and left arm blood pressure differences, information on the potentially dangerous practice of prescribing Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors (ACEIs) in young women with hypertension, the acceptability of blood pressure treatment in very elderly patients and guidance on biochemical monitoring of patients on spironolactone or ACEIs.  Her research has been funded by the British Heart Foundation, National Institutes of Health, USA and National Institutes for Health Research. She has published over 50 papers, a book on prescribing in the elderly and several book chapters and review articles.

Other activities

Dr Martin is Programme Director of the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility (WTCRF). Her responsibilities include chairing the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Facility and overseeing the processes and procedures that underpin and facilitate all research that takes place there in accordance with the principles of Good Clinical Practice. Key strategic roles include the development of the new gene pharmacy, strengthening links to the Primary Care network and expanding activity via the satellite unit in Sport and Exercise Science and the Health Research Bus. Dr Martin is chair of the “Women in Academic Medicine” steering group for the College developing equality in governance and management for career progression. She has delivered a strong programme including sessions in assertiveness, time management and conflict as well as a robust mentoring system to support women in their academic and clinical careers which includes access to organised activities, networking events and workshops.

Clinical activity / NHS affiliation

  • Lead for Hypertension Service, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham
  • General Internal Medicine


McManus R, Martin U. Differences in clinic and ambulatory measurements of blood pressure. British Medical Journal 340:c1782, 2010 (DOI:10.1136/bmj.cl1782)

Edwards L, Ring C, McIntyre D, Martin U, Winer JB, Effects of essential hypertension on short latency human somatosensory-evoked potentials. Psychophysiology 47: 323-331, 2010. (DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2009.00939.x)

Butt TF, Branch RB, Beesley L, Martin U. Managing hypertension in the very elderly; impact of adverse drug reactions on achieving targets. Journal of Human Hypertension 24: 514-518, 2010 (DOI: 10.1038/jhh.2009.116)

Edwards L, Ring C, McIntyre D, Winer JB, Martin U. Sensory detection thresholds are modulated across the cardiac cycle: Evidence that cutaneous sensibility is greatest for systolic stimulation. Psychophysiology 46: 252-256, 2009.

Martins AQ. Ring C, McIntyre D, Edwards L, Martin U. Effects of unpredictable stimulation on pain and nocioception across the cardiac cycle. Pain 147:84-90, 2009

Martin U Hypertension guidelines: thresholds, targets and teratogenicity. British Journal of General Practice. 58, 585, 2008.

Martin U, Foreman M, Travis J, Carson D, Coleman J. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor use and angiotensin receptor blocker use in women of childbearing age. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. 33:1-5, 2008.

Ring C, France CR, al’Absi M, Edwards L, McIntyre D, Carroll D, Martin U. Effects of naltrexone on electrocutaneous pain in patients with hypertension compared to normal volunteers. Biological Psychology. 77:191-196, 2008

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