Dr Andrew P Holmes BMedsc PhD

Dr Andrew P Holmes

School of Biomedical Sciences
Lecturer in Cardiac and Respiratory Physiology
Next Generation Biotechnology Theme Lead

Contact details

Institute of Clinical Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Andrew Holmes is a Lecturer in Cardiac and Respiratory Physiology in the Institute of Clinical Sciences.

His research interests are in the field of cardiovascular and respiratory physiology and pathology, with an emphasis on identifying novel mechanisms underlying hypertension and cardiac arrhythmia.

Dr Holmes has a key research focus on evaluating how cardiorespiratory reflex dysfunction caused by hyperactive carotid body chemoreceptors promotes hypertension and cardiac autonomic dysfunction. He aims to develop new or repurposed therapies that directly target the carotid body to reduce hypertension and arrhythmia in associated diseases such as obstructive sleep apnoea and COPD. This work is currently supported by the Wellcome Trust.

In addition, he has a specific interest in understanding how acute and chronic hypoxia disrupt the electrical integrity of atrial tissue leading to heart rhythm disturbances. This work is currently supported by grants from BHF.  

Dr Holmes is an enthusiastic teacher and contributes to the delivery of both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. He is joint module lead on the Biomedical Science BSc Year 3 module- Hypoxia in Health and Disease.


  • PhD in Medical Science, University of Birmingham, 2013
  • BMedSc (Hons), Class I, University of Birmingham, 2009


Dr Andrew Holmes graduated with a first class honours degree in BMedSc (specialising in Physiology) from the University of Birmingham, in 2009. He was awarded the Arthur Thompson prize for achieving the highest position in his degree class.

Dr Holmes completed a PhD at the University of Birmingham, working with Professor Prem Kumar, where he became interested in understanding how arterial chemoreceptors sense and respond to changes in blood O2, CO2, pH and glucose. During his PhD he was awarded the A.E. Hills Postgraduate Scholarship.

Dr Holmes did a 4-year Postdoctoral research post in the Translational Research on Heart Failure and Arrhythmia Research Cluster in the Institute of Cardiovascular Science, working with advisors Professor Paulus Kirchhof and Dr Larissa Fabritz. During this time he was awarded the British Society for Cardiovascular Research and British Atherosclerosis Society Young Investigator Award.

In 2018, Dr Holmes took up a Lecturer position in the Institute of Clinical Sciences, University of Birmingham. He is currently joint group lead of the Birmingham Arterial Chemoreceptor and Hypoxia Group.  He also continues to be an active member of the Translational Research on Heart Failure and Arrhythmias Cluster in the Institute of Cardiovascular Science.

Dr Holmes has published a number of research articles in internationally recognised journals including

  • Journal of American College Cardiology
  • Circulation Research
  • Journal of Physiology
  • American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 

He has received funding from the BHF, MRC and Wellcome Trust.


Dr Holmes is an enthusiastic teacher and understands the importance of delivering high quality research led and research informed content to undergraduate students.

Undergraduate teaching:

  • Biomedical Science BSc
    • Joint Module Lead on Hypoxia in Health and Disease (2018 - present)
    •  Cardiorespiratory 1 and 2 (2013-present)
    • Digestion and Renal Sciences (2018-present)
    • Cellular Biochemistry and Biology (2018-present)
  • Medicine and Surgery MBChB 
    • Introduction to Respiratory Medicine (2018- present)
    • Cardiovascular Sciences (2018- present)
    • Digestion (2018- present)
  • Dental Surgery BDS
    • Cardiovascular Pharmacology (2018- present)

Small group laboratory practical sessions:

  • Biomedical Science BSc
    • Studying the alterations in electrical properties of atrial cardiomyocytes induced by hypoxia and re-oxygenation (2014- present).

Dr Holmes also currently supervises undergraduates working on their final year research projects.

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Holmes currently supervises postgraduate PhD, MD, MRes and MPharm students working on their laboratory based research projects. Dr Holmes is always keen for potential students to get in touch about new research projects. 


Dr Holmes has research interests in the area of cardiorespiratory physiology with a particular emphasis on understanding how hypoxia causes carotid body mediated neurogenic hypertension and cardiac electrical dysfunction.

 Specific current projects include:

  • Revealing the role of ecto-5’-nucleotidase (CD73) in carotid body function and plasticity
  • Defining the role of the carotid body chemoreceptors in the cause of neurogenic hypertension
  • Examining if beta-blocker therapy is effective in treating carotid body mediated cardiovascular disease
  • Understanding how succinate metabolism modifies carotid body hypoxic sensitivity
  • Understanding how exposure to chronic intermittent hypoxia causes atrial electrical dysfunction related to atrial fibrillation.
  • Understanding how the nanoscale organization of sodium channels on the atrial cell membrane impacts on sodium current magnitude and the effectiveness of anti-arrhythmic drugs

Dr Holmes is always looking to collaborate on new projects.

For further information please view Dr Holmes' ResearchGate profile

Research Groups and Centres

Other activities

  • Member of the Physiological Society
  • Member of the European Society of Cardiology
  • Dr Holmes is a tutor on the Access to Birmingham (A2B) Scheme that aims to encourage under-privileged students to consider and prepare for admission into a medical/scientific degree course.


 Full Articles

  • Holmes AP, Ray CJ, Thompson EL, Alshehri Z, Coney AM, Kumar P (2019). Adrenaline activation of the carotid body: Key to CO2 and pH homeostasis in hypoglycaemia and potential pathological implications in cardiovascular disease. Respir Physiol Neurobiol (In Press)
  • O’Shea C, Holmes AP, Yu TY, Winter J, Wells SP, Parker BA, Fobian D, Johnson DM, Correia J, Kirchhof P, Fabritz L, Rajpoot K & Pavlovic D (2019). High-Throughput Analysis of Optical Mapping Data Using ElectroMap. JOVE (In Press)
  • O’Shea C, Holmes AP, Winter J, Correia J, Ou X, Dong R, He S, Kirchhof P, Fabritz L, Rajpoot K & Pavlovic D (2019). Cardiac optogenetics and optical mapping – Overcoming spectral congestion in all-optical cardiac electrophysiology. Frontiers in Physiology 10; 182
  • O’Shea C, Holmes AP, Yu TY, Winter J, Wells S, Correia J, Boukens B, de Groot J, Chu G, Xin Li G. Ng A, Kirchhof P, Fabritz L, Rajpoot K, and Pavlovic D (2019). ElectroMap: High-throughput open-source software for analysis and mapping of cardiac electrophysiology. Nature Scientific Reports 9; 1389
  • Holmes AP, Ray CJ, Pearson SA, Coney AM & Kumar P (2018). Ecto-5’-nucleotidase (CD73) regulates peripheral chemoreceptor activity and cardiorespiratory responses to hypoxia. J Physiol 596(15):3137-48. 
  • Holmes AP, Ray CJ, Coney AM & Kumar P (2018). Is carotid body physiological O2 sensitivity determined by a unique mitochondrial phenotype? Frontiers in Physiology 9:562. 
  • Yu TY, Dehghani H, Brain KL, Syeda F, Holmes AP, Kirchhof P & Fabritz L (2017). Optical mapping design for murine atrial electrophysiology. Comput Meth Biomech Biomed Eng: Imag Vis 68: 368-376.
  • Holmes AP*, Syeda F*, Yu TY; Tull S, Kuhlmann SM, Pavlovic D, Betney D, Riley G, Kucera JP, Jousset F, De Groot JR, Rohr S, Brown NA; Fabritz L & Kirchhof P (2016). PITX2 modulates atrial membrane potential and the antiarrhythmic effects of sodium-channel blockers. J Am Coll Cardiol. 68: 59-72. * Equal contribution. Article selected for editorial. 
  • Holmes AP, Turner PJ, Buckler KJ & Kumar P (2016). Moderate inhibition of mitochondrial function augments carotid body hypoxic sensitivity. Pflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology 468:143-155.
  • Ackers-Johnson M, Li PY, Holmes AP, O’Brien SM, Pavlovic D, Foo RS (2016). A simplified, Langendorff-free method for concomitant isolation of viable cardiac myocytes and non-myocytes from the adult mouse heart. Circ Res 119(8): 909-920. Article selected for editorial and 3rd most read article in Circulation Research in 2016.

View all publications in research portal