Dr Clare Ray PhD

Image of Dr Clare Ray

Institute of Clinical Sciences
Lecturer in Cardiovascular and Respiratory Science

Contact details

Institute of Clinical Sciences
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Clare Ray is a lecturer in Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences with teaching responsibilities across many of the Institute of Clinical Sciences’ undergraduate programmes. She is the College of Medical and Dental Sciences lead for Outreach and Widening Participation and is engaged in a range of successful schemes and activities that promote the participation of under-represented groups in Higher Education.

Clare combines these responsibilities with research interests in the area of cardio-respiratory integration and control and she is an associate of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences. She is principally an in vivo physiologist and her research has focussed on the control of oxygen delivery particularly in response to systemic hypoxia (acute, chronic and intermittent) and exercise, on which she has published a number of papers. Her current research is investigating the mechanisms underlying the cardiovascular and respiratory complications associated with chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH), obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and diabetes.


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Post-graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education 2011
  • Associate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education 2009
  • School of Medicine’s Award for Excellence in Teaching 2007
  • PhD Cardiovascular Physiology 2004
  • BMedSc (Hons) 2000


Clare Ray gained a BMedSc (1st Class Hons) in Medical Science, specializing in Cardiovascular Physiology, from the University of Birmingham in 2000. She went on to study for a PhD in the Department of Physiology, developing a novel technique for directly measuring the in vitro release of nitric oxide from blood vessels and elucidating the pathway by which adenosine evokes nitric oxide release during systemic hypoxia.

Her two post-doctoral research projects, both funded by the British Heart Foundation, allowed Clare to continue her research into the control of oxygen delivery in skeletal muscle at the University of Birmingham and it was during this time that she developed her interest in learning and teaching.

Whilst continuing with her research, Clare completed the Associate Module in Learning and Teaching in HE in 2009 and was appointed as a lecturer in Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences in January 2010. In 2011, she completed the PGCertLTHE and became a Fellow of the HEA. 

As a post-doctoral researcher Clare developed an interest in outreach and widening participation and in 2003 became a subject tutor on the University of Birmingham’s flagship widening participation scheme Access to Birmingham (A2B). Since then Clare has become increasingly involved in a variety of schemes and activities aimed at increasing the participation of under-represented groups in Higher Education, resulting in her being appointed the College lead for Outreach and Widening Participation in 2013. Since then the College has made large strides in its widening participation activities particularly around widening access to medicine, via our Routes to the Professions: Medicine scheme. As part of these activities Clare sits on the Physiological Society’s Education and Outreach Committee, The Medical Schools Council Northern Network of Medical Schools Widening Participation Group, the NHS Health Education West Midlands Birmingham and Solihull Local Education and Training Council Widening Participation Group and the Realising Opportunities Academic Board.

Clare’s current research is centred around the control of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems in chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH) and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). 


Clare is interested in the scholarship of learning and teaching and evidence-based approaches to education. She currently contributes to cardiovascular, respiratory and other teaching on the following programmes:

Medicine (MBChB): Foundations in Medical Science and Practice 3 - Module Lead, F3 Cardiovascular - Co-Component Lead
Medical Science (BMedSc)
Biomedical Materials Science (BMedSc Biomaterials)
Dental Surgery (BDS)
Graduate Entry Medicine (GEC)

Biomedical Science (BSc) Respiratory Science - Co-Module lead; Hypoxia in health and Disease

Pharmacy (MPharm)

MRes (in vivo)

Clare is a Personal Mentor for a group of students on the MBChB programme and she also offers laboratory-based research projects to final year Biomedical Science students and students on the MRes Biomedical Research Integrative and Translational programme.

Postgraduate supervision

Clare currently co-supervises PhD students on the following projects:

  • The roles of oxygen-dependent mechanisms in the cardiovascular changes associated with exercise in health and disease. Rehan Junejo.
  • The prevalence of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) in patients with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM). Ziyad Alshehri.


Clare’s current research is centred around the control of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems in chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH) and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). With colleagues she has developed both an acute model of airway obstruction and a chronic model of intermittent hypoxia in order to investigate the mechanisms underlying the cardiovascular and respiratory complications of OSA. She also has an interest in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes as a co-morbidity of OSA and the interaction between blood glucose level and chronic intermittent hypoxia in the development of microvascular complications and the function of the autonomic nervous system.

Clare is also interested in chemoreception by the carotid body and is currently involved in a collaborative project investigating the role of the carotid body in glucose sensing and regulation.

 Clare’s other collaborations focus on the regulation of skeletal muscle blood flow and build on her previous research into the role of the local mediators adenosine, nitric oxide and prostaglandins in matching oxygen delivery to oxygen consumption during hypoxia when oxygen delivery is compromised and during exercise when oxygen consumption is increased. She currently co-supervises a PhD project investigating oxygen-dependent substances involved in exercise hyperaemia, which aims to look at how the mechanisms of vasodilatation during and after exercise may alter with age and in disease to limit exercise capacity.

Other activities

  • Member of The Physiological Society
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • STEM ambassador
  • Volunteer speaker for Understanding Animal Research
  • Consultant for publishing company Quarto on their range of children’s books about the human body


Ray CJ, Dow B, Kumar P and Coney AM (2015) Mild chronic intermittent hypoxia in Wistar rats evokes significant cardiovascular pathophysiology but no overt changes in carotid body-mediated respiratory responses. Adv Exp Med Biol 860:245-54.  Refereed conference proceedings.

Holmes AP, Turner PJ, Carter P, Leadbeater W, Ray CJ, Hauton D, Buckler KJ and Kumar P (2014) Glycogen metabolism protects against metabolic insult to preserve carotid body function during glucose deprivation. J Physiol 592(Pt 20):4493-506 

[Above paper featured as a Perspectives article: Joyner MJ and Limberg JK (2014) Hitting the wall: glycogen, glucose and the carotid bodies. Journal of Physiology 592(Pt 20):4413-4]

Thompson EL, Ray CJ, Coney AM and Kumar K (2013) Hypoglycaemia-induced hyperpnoea: a role for epinephrine and the carotid body? The FASEB Journal 27:1137.18

Ray CJ, Wallice R, Cook R and Coney AM (2013) Is functional sympatholysis (FS) altered in chronically hypoxic (CH) rats? The FASEB Journal 27:943.20

Marshall JM and Ray CJ (2012) Contribution of non-endothelium-dependent substances to exercise hyperaemia: are they O2 dependent? Journal of Physiology 590(24):6307-20

Ray CJ and Marshall JM (2009) Nitric oxide (NO) does not contribute to the generation or action of adenosine during exercise hyperaemia in rat hindlimb. Journal of Physiology 587(Pt 7):1579-91

Ray CJ and Marshall JM (2009) Elucidation in the rat of the role of adenosine and A2A-receptors in the hyperaemia of twitch and tetanic contractions. Journal of Physiology 587(Pt 7):1565-78

Ray CJ and Marshall JM (2006) The cellular mechanisms by which adenosine evokes release of nitric oxide from rat aortic endothelium. Journal of Physiology 570(Pt 1):85-96