Dr Clare Ray PhD

Image of Dr Clare Ray

School of Biomedical Sciences
Reader in Widening Participation in Biomedical Education

Contact details

Institute of Clinical Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Clare Ray is a Reader in Widening Participation in Biomedical Education and is the College of Medical and Dental Sciences lead for Outreach and Widening Participation . She leads a range of successful schemes and activities that promote the participation, success and progression of underrepresented groups in Higher Education and in recognition of this work was the first recipient of the Dean's Leadership Award and was runner up in the National Widening Participation Awards. Clare is a cardiovascular and respiratory physiologist with teaching responsibilities across many of the Institute of Clinical Sciences’ undergraduate programmes.

Clare combines these roles with research interests in the area of cardio-respiratory integration and control. 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. 


  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2016

  • Post-graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 2011

  • PhD Cardiovascular Physiology, 2004

  • BMedSc (Hons) in Medical Sciences, 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. In 2016, Clare was promoted to Senior Lecturer and became a Senior 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 supporting the participation of underrepresented 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. She has an increasing focus on the success and progression of students from underrepresented groups at all stages of the student life cycle and launched MDS Pathways in September 2019, which has received support from the Alumni Impact Fund, and will provide a mentor and professional development and networking opportunities for all MDS students who engaged with our widening participation programmes. As part of these activities Clare sits on the University Student Access and Progress Committee, the Physiological Society’s Education and Outreach Committee, the Realising Opportunities Academic Board and is now Chair of the National Medical Schools Widening Participation Forum. In recognition of this work, Clare was the first recipient of the Dean's Leadership Award in 2016 and was promoted to Reader in Widening Participation in Biomedical Education in 2019.

Clare is a member of the Birmingham Arterial Chemoreceptor and Hypoxia Group and her current research is centred around the control of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems in chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH), obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and diabetes.


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:

Clare is a personal tutor on the Biomedical Sciences programme and regularly supervises final year research projects.

See Clare talk about a great way to drive student involvement and therefore engagement during lectures: Polling Technology.

Postgraduate supervision

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

  • The prevalence of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) in patients with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM)
  • Does exposure to chronic intermittent hypoxia in early life induce developmental programming of carotid body function in adulthood?


Clare’s current scientific research is centred around the control of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems in chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH) and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). Clare is a group leader of the Birmingham Arterial Chemoreceptor and Hypoxia Group. The research group focuses on defining the role of the carotid body chemoreceptors, in cardiovascular, respiratory and neuroendocrine physiology and pathology. 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’s educational research is in the area of Widening Participation and Inclusivity in Biomedical and Healthcare Education. Her current projects include: a collaboration with the University of Glasgow Medical School and Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, looking at the experience of students from underrepresented groups before, during the transition to, and while at University; an evaluation of the effectiveness of mentoring and bespoke professional development training and networking opportunities on the transition to University and sense of belonging of students from underrepresented groups; and investigating the factors that contribute to differential attainment of underrepresented groups at all stages of the student lifecycle.

Clare is also interested in the scholarship of learning and teaching and widely uses and evaluates the effectiveness of the flipped classroom in undergraduate biomedical education.

Other activities

  • National Medical Schools Widening Participation Forum, Chair
  • Physiological Society Education and Outreach Committee, member
  • Realising Opportunities Academic Board, member


Recent publications


Swiderska, A, Coney, AM, Alzahrani, AA, Aldossary, HS, Batis, N, Ray, CJ, Kumar, P & Holmes, AP 2021, 'Mitochondrial succinate metabolism and reactive oxygen species are important but not essential for eliciting carotid body and ventilatory responses to hypoxia in the rat', Antioxidants, vol. 10, no. 6, 840. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10060840

Alzahrani, AA, Cao, LL, Aldossary, HS, Nathanael, D, Fu, J, Ray, CJ, Brain, KL, Kumar, P, Coney, AM & Holmes, AP 2021, 'β-Adrenoceptor blockade prevents carotid body hyperactivity and elevated vascular sympathetic nerve density induced by chronic intermittent hypoxia', Pfluegers Archiv: European journal of physiology , vol. 473, no. 1, pp. 37-51. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00424-020-02492-0

Holmes, AP, Ray, CJ, Kumar, P & Coney, AM 2020, 'A student practical to conceptualize the importance of Poiseuille’s law and flow control in the cardiovascular system', Advances in Physiology Education. https://doi.org/10.1152/advan.00004.2019

Junejo, R, Ray, C & Marshall, J 2020, 'Prostaglandin contribution to postexercise hyperemia is dependent on tissue oxygenation during rhythmic and isometric contractions', Physiological reports, vol. 8, no. 12, e14471. https://doi.org/10.14814/phy2.14471

Junejo, R, Ray, C & Marshall, J 2019, 'Cuff inflation time significantly affects blood flow recorded with venous occlusion plethysmography: rapid cuff inflation improves estimations of hyperemic flow', European Journal of Applied Physiology, vol. 119, no. 3, pp. 665–674. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-018-04056-8

Holmes, A, Ray, C, Thompson, E, Alshehri, Z, Coney, A & Kumar, P 2018, 'Adrenaline activation of the carotid body: key to CO2 and pH homeostasis in hypoglycaemia and potential pathological implications in cardiovascular disease', Respiratory physiology & neurobiology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resp.2018.05.008

Hauton, D & Ray, C 2018, 'Caffeine, gravity, and baroreceptor function: the integration diet and cardiovascular control', American Journal of Physiology - Advances in Physiology Education, vol. 42, pp. 454-461. https://doi.org/10.1152/advan.00003.2017

Holmes, A, Ray, C, Coney, A & Kumar, P 2018, 'Is carotid body physiological O2 sensitivity determined by a unique mitochondrial phenotype?', Frontiers in Physiology, vol. 9, 562. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.00562

Holmes, AP, Ray, CJ, Pearson, SA, Coney, AM & Kumar, P 2017, 'Ecto-5'-nucleotidase (CD73) regulates peripheral chemoreceptor activity and cardiorespiratory responses to hypoxia', The Journal of Physiology. https://doi.org/10.1113/JP274498

Thompson, EL, Ray, CJ, Holmes, AP, Pye, RL, Wyatt, CN, Coney, AM & Kumar, P 2016, 'Adrenaline release evokes hyperpnoea and an increase in ventilatory CO2 sensitivity during hypoglycaemia: a role for the carotid body', The Journal of Physiology, vol. 594, no. 15, pp. 4439-52. https://doi.org/10.1113/JP272191, https://doi.org/10.1113/JP272191

Ray, C, Junejo, R & Marshall, J 2015, 'Does Adenosine make an O-2 Dependent Contribution to Exercise Hyperaemia?', FASEB Journal.


Junejo, RT, Ray, CJ, Lucas, SJE & Marshall, JM 2016, 'Investigation into effects of supplementary O-2 on tissue oxygenation during isometric handgrip in the ipsilateral and contralateral limb in young (Y) and older (O) men using Near Infra Red Spectroscopy (NIRS)', FASEB Journal, vol. 30, no. 1_supplement. <https://www.fasebj.org/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.30.1_supplement.761.9>

Marshall, J, Junejo, R, D'Souza, F & Ray, C 2015, 'Effects of Breathing O-2 at different Concentrations on Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and Endothelium Dependent Dilatation', FASEB Journal.

Review article

Holmes, AP, Swiderska, A, Nathanael, D, Aldossary, HS, Ray, CJ, Coney, AM & Kumar, P 2022, 'Are multiple mitochondrial related signalling pathways involved in carotid body oxygen sensing?', Frontiers in Physiology, vol. 13, 908617. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2022.908617

Aldossary, HS, Alzahrani, AA, Nathanael, D, Alhuthail, EA, Ray, CJ, Batis, N, Kumar, P, Coney, AM & Holmes, AP 2020, 'G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling in the carotid body: roles in hypoxia and cardiovascular and respiratory disease', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 21, no. 17, 6012. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21176012

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