Dr Neena Kalia

Neena Kalia

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
Senior Lecturer in Microcirculation Research

Contact details

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


  • BSc Hons - 1993
  • PhD - 1997


Neena studied Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Sheffield.  She stayed at the University of Sheffield where she conducted her PhD with eminent Gastroenterologist Professor Chandu Bardhan.  Her PhD involved intravitally imaging the stomach to assess the effects of alcohol and Helicobacter pylori on the gastric microcirculation and led to the publication of six papers.  This research developed into postdoctoral studies to assess the effects of different pathogenic strains of H. pylori and their ability to mediate strain specific gastric microcirculatory disturbances.  She then obtained a Wellcome Trust funded postdoctoral position to develop intravital microscopy to image for the first time the intestinal mucosal villous microcirculation in response to ischaemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury.  This led to a lasting interest in I/R injury and its devastating, but site specific, effects on the microcirculation of a number of different organs.  Dr Kalia remained in Sheffield until 2004, by which time she had developed a national reputation in the field of intravital microcirculatory imaging and I/R injury. 

Thereafter, she was approached to establish intravital microscopy at the Medical School, University of Birmingham under the auspices of an MRC Co-operative grant.  She was appointed Lecturer in 2006 and Senior Lecturer in 2009.  She is currently interested in cellular therapy to restore the integrity of the microvasculature post I/R injury and more recently has established a novel method to image the beating heart microcirculation.  Her group has published several papers identifying the key adhesive mechanisms governing haemaopoetic and mesenchymal stem cell homing to sites of injury, how to enhance this phenomenon and the vasculoprotective effects they confer. 

The University recently invested significantly in developing intravital microscopy at the Medical School through the award of strategic equipment grant which has permitted the recent purchase of a multiphoton intravital microscope and additional spinning Nipkow confocal intravital systems.  Dr Kalia heads this newly refurbished and state-of-the-art intravital facility.  


  • Module Coordinator for BDS1 - Digestion-Renal-Endocrine Module
  • Core Lectures for BDS1 and MPharm1 - Digestive Physiology
  • Core Lectures for BDS1 and MPharm2 - Renal Physiology
  • Lectures for MRes and PG - Intravital Microscopy
  • Lectures for UG and MRes - Stem Cell Homing
  • Lectures for UG and MRes - Ischaemia-Reperfusion Injury
  • Small Group Teaching on Cardiovascular, Digestion, Respiratory and Renal physiology topics for MBChB, BDS and BMedSci

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Kalia currently has openings for self-funded PhD students in the areas of:

  • Enhancing the vasculoprotective effects of stem cells (HSCs and MSCs) in IR injured organs
  • Identification of vasculoprotective stem cell sub-types
  • Role of the IL-36/IL-36R pathway in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury
  • Role of the IL-36/IL-36R pathway in liver disease
  • Impact of ageing on the coronary microcirculation
  • Impact of diabetes on the coronary microcirculation
  • Identifying anti-platelets drugs that are effective in IR injured coronary microcirculation

If you are interested in studying any of these subject areas please email Dr Kalia or use the contact details above.


Dr Kalia’s research is focussed on identifying the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury, particularly the contributory role of neutrophils, platelets and lymphocyte sub-sets. Furthermore, she is also determining strategies, particularly the use of adult bone marrow derived stem cells, that may be of therapeutic benefit following I/R injury.  Hematopoietic and (HSC) mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) can migrate to injured tissues and help in tissue repair.  However, the events that govern their recruitment to injured tissue microcirculation and mechanisms that can enhance their recruitment are unclear. 

Therefore, her research focuses on examining the molecular adhesive events involved in HSC/MSC recruitment to different vascular beds following injury, including the liver, gut, kidney and muscle. The vasculoprotective events that SCs may confer are also determined.  Identification of a novel role for interleukin-36 (IL-36) is a recent interest following identification of IL-36 receptors in I/R injured organs.  The impact of ageing on these microcirculatory disturbances is also under investigation.  Inflammatory and stem cell trafficking is monitored predominantly by state-of-the-art confocal based intravital microscopy which allows real-time and dynamic microcirculatory images to be captured in vivo

This technique allows numerous microcirculatory disturbances to be quantitated including the various events of the adhesion cascade (rolling / adhesion / transmigration) and also changes in vascular integrity and blood flow.    We have recently developed a novel method for imaging the microcirculation of the beating heart and are currently characterising the full extent of myocardial microcirculatory disturbances that occur following a heart attack.

Other activities

  • Supervision of BMedSc, MRes and PhD projects
  • BDS1 Biological Sciences Sub-Committee Member
  • College Graduate Studies Committee Member
  • ICVS Executive Committee Member
  • ICVS Postgraduate Research Lead
  • Lead for Intravital Microscopy Research and Facilities
  • Birmingham University Stem Cell Centre Advisory Committee (BUSCC)
  • College Mentor for Postdoctoral Training and Career Development
  • Technology Hub Working Group Committee
  • College ‘Grant Clinic’ Member 
  • British Microcirculation Society Committee – Honarary Secretary
  • Microcirculation – Editorial Board
  • World Journal of Gastroenterology – Editorial Board
  • World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology – Editorial Board


Du M, Kalia N, Frumento G, Chen F, Zhang Z.  Biomechanical properties of human T cells in the process of activation based on diametric compression by micromanipulation. Med Eng Phys. 2017, 40:20-27. 

Hausenloy DJ, Barrabes JA, Bøtker HE, Davidson SM, Di Lisa F, Downey J, Engstrom T, Ferdinandy P, Carbrera-Fuentes HA, Heusch G, Ibanez B, Iliodromitis EK, Inserte J, Jennings R, Kalia N, Kharbanda R, Lecour S, Marber M, Miura T, Ovize M, Perez-Pinzon MA, Piper HM, Przyklenk K, Schmidt MR, Redington A, Ruiz-Meana M, Vilahur G, Vinten-Johansen J, Yellon DM, Garcia-Dorado D.  Ischaemic conditioning and targeting reperfusion injury: a 30 year voyage of discoveryBasic Res Cardiol. 2016, 111(6):70. Review.

Yemm A, Adams D, Kalia N. Targeting the delivery of systemically administered haematopoietic stem/progenitor cells to the inflamed colon using hydrogen peroxide and platelet microparticle pre-treatment strategies.  Stem Cell Res. 2015, 15(3):569-80

Kavanagh DP, Suresh S, Newsome PN, Frampton J, Kalia N. Pretreatment of mesenchymal stem cells manipulates their vasculoprotective potential while not altering their homing within the injured gut. Stem Cells. 2015, 33(9):2785-97. 

Chimen M, McGettrick HM, Apta B, Kuravi SJ, Yates CM, Kennedy A, Odedra A, Alassiri M, Harrison M, Martin A, Barone F, Nayar S, Hitchcock JR, Cunningham AF, Raza K, Filer A, Copland DA, Dick AD, Robinson J, Kalia N, Walker LS, Buckley CD, Nash GB, Narendran P, Rainger GE.  Homeostatic regulation of T cell trafficking by a B cell-derived peptide is impaired in autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disease. Nat Med. 2015, 21(5):467-75. 

Kavanagh DP, Robinson J, Kalia N.  Mesenchymal stem cell priming: fine-tuning adhesion and function. Stem Cell Rev. 2014, 10(4):587-99. Review.

White RL, Nash G, Kavanagh DP, Savage CO, Kalia N. Modulating the adhesion of haematopoietic stem cells with chemokines to enhance their recruitment to the ischaemically injured murine kidney. PLoS One. 2013, 19;8(6):e66489. 

Kavanagh DP, Yemm AI, Zhao Y, Frampton J, Kalia N. Mechanisms of adhesion and subsequent actions of a haematopoietic stem cell line, HPC-7, in the injured murine intestinal microcirculation in vivo. PLoS One. 2013, 8(3):e59150. 

Aldridge V, Garg A, Davies N, Bartlett DC, Youster J, Beard H, Kavanagh DP, Kalia N, Frampton J, Lalor PF, Newsome PN. Human mesenchymal stem cells are recruited to injured liver in a β1-integrin and CD44 dependent manner. Hepatology. 2012 Sep;56(3):1063-73. doi: 10.1002/hep.25716.

Kavanagh DP, Kalia N.  Hematopoietic stem cell homing to injured tissues. Stem Cell Rev. 2011, 7(3):672-82. Review.

View all publications in research portal