Dr Keith Brain PhD, MB/BS, FBPhS

Dr Keith Brain

Institute of Clinical Sciences
Senior Lecturer
Head of Intercalation, MDS

Contact details

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

Dr Brain is the Head of Intercalation for the College of Medical and Dental Sciences, and the deputy lead for Years 1 and 2 of the MBChB programme. His research focusses on Autonomic physiology and pharmacology, both within the cardiovascular system and the urogenitral tract. His teaching focusses on the fields of Pharmacology and Renal physiology.


  • Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society, 2015
  • MA, University of Oxford, 2002
  • MB/BS(Hons), University of Sydney, 2000
  • PhD, Physiology, University of Sydney, 1999
  • BSc(Med)(Hons), University of Sydney, 1995
  • BSc, Physics and Pure Mathematics, University of Sydney, 1995


Dr Brain graduated with a PhD in Physiology in 1998 and in Medicine in 1999 from the University of Sydney, Australia. After working as a medical officer at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney he joined the Department of Pharmacology, Oxford, in 2001.

While in Oxford, Dr Brain held a series of research fellowships, including a Nuffield Medical Fellowship, Wellcome Trust Career Development Research Fellowship (both based in the Department of Pharmacology), Staines Medical Research Fellowship (Exeter College) and the post of Research Fellow and Tutor (Keble College). In 2009 he moved to the post of Senior Lecturer (Neuropharmacology) at the University of Birmingham.


Postgraduate supervision

Dr Brain is happy to discuss PhD proposals in autonomic physiology, autonomic pharmacology and urogenital pathophysiology.


Dr Brain’s laboratory aims to understand autonomic junctional transmission from fundamental principles through to therapeutic interventions

Current projects include:

  • The development of new techniques for dynamically monitoring neurotransmitter release with single-molecule resolution
  • Developing new optical and MRI-sensitive probes for monitoring sympathetic function in the cardiovascular system
  • The role of parasympathetic transmission in bladder overactivity
  • The effect of cannabinoids on sympathetic transmission

Other activities


Recent publications


Cao, L, Holmes, A, Marshall, J, Fabritz, L & Brain, K 2020, 'Dynamic monitoring of single-terminal norepinephrine transporter rate in the rodent cardiovascular system: a novel fluorescence imaging method', Autonomic Neuroscience, vol. 223, 102611. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.autneu.2019.102611, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.autneu.2019.102611

Hansen, T, Tarasova, OS, Khammy, MM, Ferreira, A, Kennard, JA, Andresen, J, Staehr, C, Brain, K, Nilsson, H & Aalkjær, C 2019, 'Ca2+ changes in sympathetic varicosities and Schwann cells in rat mesenteric arteries - relation to noradrenaline release and contraction', Acta Physiologica, vol. 226, no. 4, e13279. https://doi.org/10.1111/apha.13279

Appukuttan, S, Padmakumar, M, Young, J, Brain, K & Manchanda, R 2018, 'Investigation of the syncytial nature of detrusor smooth muscle as a determinant of action potential shape', Frontiers in Physiology, vol. 9, 1300. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.01300

Mahapatra, C, Brain, K & Manchanda, R 2018, 'A biophysically constrained computational model of the action potential of mouse urinary bladder smooth muscle', PLoS ONE, vol. 13, no. 7, e0200712, pp. 1-32. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0200712

Padmakumar, M, Brain, K, Young, J & Manchanda, R 2018, 'A four-component model of the action potential in mouse detrusor smooth muscle cell', PLoS ONE, vol. 13, no. 1, e0190016. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190016

Appukuttan, S, Padmakumar, M, Brain, K & Manchanda, R 2017, 'A method for the analysis of AP foot convexity: insights into smooth muscle biophysics', Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, no. 64. https://doi.org/10.3389/fbioe.2017.00064

Appukuttan, S, Brain, KL & Manchanda, R 2017, 'Modeling extracellular fields for a three-dimensional network of cells using NEURON', Journal of Neuroscience Methods, vol. 290, NSM_7781, pp. 27-38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneumeth.2017.07.005, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneumeth.2017.07.005

Appukuttan, S, Brain, K & Manchanda, R 2017, 'Investigation of action potential propagation in a syncytium', Biomedical Research Journal, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 102-115.

Zhongmin, L, Chouhan, AK, Rossano, AJ, Brain, KL, Zhou, Y, Borycz, JA, Lu, Z, Meinertzhagen, IA & Macleod, GT 2016, 'High probability neurotransmitter release sites represent an energy efficient design', Current Biology, vol. 26, no. 19, pp. 2562-2571. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2016.07.032

Holmes, AP, Yu, TY, Tull, S, Syeda, F, Kuhlmann, SM, O'Brien, S-M, Patel, P, Brain, KL, Pavlovic, D, Brown, NA, Fabritz, L & Kirchhof, P 2016, 'A regional reduction in Ito and IKaCh in the murine posterior left atrial myocardium is associated with action potential prolongation and increased ectopic activity', PLoS ONE, vol. 11, no. 5, e0154077. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0154077

Yu, TY, Dehghani, H, Brain, K, Syeda, F, Holmes, AP, Kirchhof, P & Fabritz, L 2015, 'Optical mapping design for murine atrial electrophysiology', Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering: Imaging & Visualization, vol. 5, no. 5, pp. 368-376. https://doi.org/10.1080/21681163.2015.1081079

Appukuttan, S, Brain, K & Manchanda, R 2015, 'Syncytial basis for diversity in spike shapes and their propagation in detrusor smooth muscle', Procedia Computer Science, vol. 51, pp. 785-794. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2015.05.199


Appukuttan, S, Padmakumar, M, Young, J, Brain, K & Manchanda, R 2019, Investigation of the syncytial nature of detrusor smooth muscle as a determinant of action potential shape. in H Dierckx, FH Fenton, S Filippi & A Pumir (eds), Simulating normal and arrhythmic dynamics: from sub-cellular to tissue and organ level. Frontiers, pp. 64-76. https://doi.org/10.3389/978-2-88963-067-7

Conference contribution

Mahapatra, C, Brain, K & Manchanda, R 2017, Computational study of ATP gated Potassium ion channel in urinary bladder over activity. in 2016 International Conference on Inventive Computation Technologies (ICICT). vol. 2016, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), pp. 1-4, International Conference on Inventive Computer Technologies, 2016, Coimbatore, India, 26/08/16. https://doi.org/10.1109/INVENTIVE.2016.7824861

Sengupta, N, Brain, KL & Manchanda, R 2015, Spatiotemporal dynamics of synaptic drive in urinary bladder syncytium: A computational investigation. in 37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), 2015 . IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference Proceedings, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), pp. 8074-7. https://doi.org/10.1109/EMBC.2015.7320267

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