UCL Division of Biosciences

Prof Neil Millar

Prof Neil Millar

Professor of Molecular Pharmacology

Neuro, Physiology & Pharmacology

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2001

Research summary

Research in Professor Millar's group is aimed at gaining a better understanding of the molecular and cell biological properties of neurotransmitter receptors and ion channels. A current focus of research is the assembly and intracellular trafficking of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (neuronal nAChRs). In contrast to the nAChR which is expressed at the mammalian neuromuscular junction and which is one of the best characterized neurotransmitter receptors, considerably less is known about the structural and functional properties of nAChRs expressed in the mammalian central and peripheral nervous system (the "neuronal" nAChRs).

Neuronal nAChRs are responsible for mediating the behavioural and addictive properties of nicotine and have been implicated as playing a role in learning, memory and in several neurological disorders (including epilepsy, schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease). Nicotinic receptors (in insects) are also targets for the recently developed class of neonicotinoid insecticides A variety of neuronal nAChRs (and other neurotransmitter receptors) are being studied in our group, including those which have been cloned from vertebrates (rat and human) and invertebrates (such as the fruit fly Drosophila and insect pest species).

Our main experimental approach is to use molecular and cell biological techniques to examine the properties of cloned receptors and ion channels expressed in transfected cultured cell lines. The properties of these recombinant receptors are also being compared to those of native receptors expressed in cultured neuronal cells. A particular current research interest of our group is to identify factors influencing the assembly (subunit oligomerization), intracellular trafficking and pharmacological properties of neuronal nAChRs.

Teaching summary

Pharmacology, Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience and Medicine degree courses.


Newcastle University
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1987
University of Manchester
First Degree, Bachelor of Science (Honours) | 1984