Dr John Mercer
- Senior Lecturer (Institute of Cardiovascular & Medical Sciences)
- Associate (School of Life Sciences)
John is a Senior Lecturer (tenured) at the Institute of Cardiovascular & Medicine Science (ICAMS) at the University of Glasgow. His basic research projects investigate the role of nuclear DNA damage and mitochondrial dysfunction in transgenic models of atherosclerosis with the goal of developing new translational therapies. In addition, he has cross disciplinary and applied research with the School of Engineering to develop new types of biomedical devices. In particular this is working towards prototyping, validating and eventually commercialising a self-reporting SMART cardiovascular device.
John graduated from Oxford Brookes with a BSc (Hons) in Cell and Molecular biology in 1995 and then undertook an MPhil/PhD investigating the emerging role of p53 in radiation induced mutations in thyroid cancer at the radiobiology labs at Berkeley, graduating from the University of St Andrews in 2000.
For his postdoctoral research, John joined the University of Cambridge, Department of Medicine at Addenbrooke’s hospital. At this British Heart Foundation (BHF) Cardiovascular Research Centre he investigated the inducible role of p53 in vascular smooth muscle cell (vsmc) biology, with a significant emphasis of developing transgenic mouse models of disease. In 2003 John won a British Atherosclerosis Society (BAS) Young Investigator award and an International travel award in 2004. His research led to further investigations into the upstream DNA damage repair kinase, Ataxia Talengectasia (ATM) in the ApoE model of atherosclerosis. This work was supported by BHF program grants, and as well as investigating the mechanism of vsmc senescence and nuclear DNA damage, it also highlighted the emerging role mitochondrial DNA damage in vsmc bioenergetics. Collaborations with Dr Mike Murphy at the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit on the role of mitochondrial targeted antioxidants, such as MitoQ and the role of DNA damage in promoting metabolic syndrome with Prof.Toni-Vidal Puig led to him being awarded the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) Young Investigator Award in Gothenburg in 2011.
As Senior Lecturer his goal is to exploit this area of investigation and John has developed a strong multidisciplinary team in collaboration with Dr Steve Neale from the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC), Glasgow. The group includes vascular biologists, micro and nano engineers and clinical leads from the NHS. John is based at the British Heart Foundation Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre (BHF GCRC). This is a BHF Translational Centre of Research Excellence with a focus on primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. To help accelerate development of transformative technologies related to cardiovascular disease John was awarded a Lord Kelvin Adam Smith PhD scholarship in 2015 and an EPSRC-DTP PhD scholarship in 2019.
Member: Vascular Research
Research: Role of mitochondrial dysfunction in Atherosclerosis
Research Interests: Role of mitochondrial dysfunction in Atherosclerosis and Development of a SMART stent for cardiovascular diseases.
British Heart foundation, Medical research Council, Biochemistry Society
Hypertension Journal, Clinical Sciences, British Journal of Pharmacology
FEBS Journal, Biosciences Reports, Oncotaget, BMC Series.
2018-2021 EPSRC-DTP PhD scholarship ~ £160,000.
2019 - MRC - Confidence in Concept –Development of smart vascular device £100,000 University of Edinburgh (Co-I).
2017-2018 Chief Scientific Officer CSO Catalyst grant - £18,848.
2016-2017 University of Glasgow translational seed funding £20,000.
2015-2019 LKAS - Lord Kelvin Adam Smith PhD Scholarship ~ £160,000.
Grants and Awards listed are those received whilst working with the University of Glasgow.
- Design and fabrication of a remote controlled wireless impedance sensing unit for a new cardiovascular medical device.
Chief Scientist Office
2017 - 2018
I am coordinator of the basic science component of the new 2019 MSc Cardiovascular Sciences postgraduate degree. In semester 1 the program covers evidence based biomedical research method, clinical and research laboratory skills, clinical aspects of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes. In semester 2 the course covers the basic science of CVD, tissues, cells and signaling and includes a 12 week laboratory based research project.
In addition I take students for basic science research projects across a number of undergraduate and masters programs including the integrated mammalian biology course (IMB-MRes). I also contribute to a number of undergraduate lecture programs including Year 2 SSC research methods, Year 3 Human biology and Physiology - mitochondria in health, Year 4, Molecular basis of disease and the new Level 4 Mitochondrial option. I also coordinate the new Level 4 Biochemistry Mitochondrial lab practical.
I am a fellow of the higher education authority (FHEA) and STEM Ambassador to promote science technology, engineering and maths at primary and secondary school level. I am also an ongoing member of the British and European Atherosclerosis Societies.