• Room 01.058 - CEM

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Dr McDonald is open to wide-ranging PhD applications from candidates with a basic science or clinical background. Her fields of interest include: - vascular biology - vision research - pharmacology Previous research experience is desirable although not essential.

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Personal profile



Keywords: Vascular Biology; Cardiovascular Medicine; Ophthalmology; Angiogenesis; OIR; Endothelial cells (EC); Microglial cells; ROP; Hypoxia; Hyperoxia; NOS (eNOS and iNOS); BH4; NADPH oxidase; ROS; RNS; Notch/Dll



Research Interests


Vascular Biology and Cell-Cell Communication: Endothelial / Mural (Pericyte and Smooth Muscle)/ Microglial Cell cross talk 

Disease Focus:  Vascular Disease; Endothelial Dysfunction; Retinal Diseases; Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP); Diabetic Retinopathy

Signalling Pathways:  Nitric oxide Synthases (NOS); NADPH oxidase; Reactive Oxygen and Nitrogen Species (ROS/RNS); Notch/Delta (Dll), Hypoxia; Hyperoxia and Inflammation

Model Systems:   Primary cell isolation and culture (endothelial cell, pericyte, microglial); gene delivery (adenoviral, lentiviral); retina as a model of vascular development in health and disease; oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR); aortic explants; green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged fusion construct generation and imaging




I trained in Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology at Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Leeds and the University of Oxford (in the Cardiovascular Medicine Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, a British Heart Foundation Centre of Excellence). 

I am currently Senior Lecturer in the Institute for Experimental Medicine where my research focuses on developing strategies to preserve normal vasculature and prevent vascular diseases caused by diabetes and aging, with a particular interest in oxidative stress and its impact on vascular growth/function/recovery and tissue repair.

My work has been funded externally by, among others, the Wellcome Trust, Fight for Sight, British Heart Foundation and Action Medical Research.



  • Cardiovascular Pathobiology & Treatment (BMS2017) – (Co-ordinator)

  • Masters in Medical Research Training Programme

  • Portfolio Mentor – Level 1 & 2 Medical students


Select Lecture titles

  • Vascular Development: Angiogenesis & Vasculogenesis

  • The Eye: Target and Model of Neovascular Disease

  • Retinopathy of Prematurity

  • Vasculogenesis & Angiogenesis I

  • Tumour Angiogenesis

  • Novel Therapeutic Targets for Tumour Angiogenesis: Role of Vessel Normalisation and Metabolism

  • Gene Therapy for the Eye & Cardiovascular Diseases

  • NOTCH in Retinal Angiogenesis  

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Denise McDonald is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 40 Similar Profiles
Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III Medicine & Life Sciences
Blood Vessels Medicine & Life Sciences
Endothelial Cells Medicine & Life Sciences
Hyperoxia Medicine & Life Sciences
Superoxides Medicine & Life Sciences
Nitric Oxide Synthase Medicine & Life Sciences
Nitric Oxide Medicine & Life Sciences
Retina Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1995 2019

26 Downloads (Pure)

NOX4 is a major regulator of cord blood-derived endothelial colony-forming cells which promotes postischaemic revascularisation

O'Neill, K. M., Campbell, D. C., Edgar, K. S., Gill, E. K., Moez, A., McLoughlin, K. J., O'Neill, C. L., Dellett, M., Hargey, C. J., Abudalo, R. A., O'Hare, M., Doyle, P., Toh, T., Khoo, J., Wong, J., McCrudden, C. M., Meloni, M., Brunssen, C., Morawietz, H., Yoder, M. C. & 6 others, McDonald, D. M., Watson, C. J., Stitt, A. W., Margariti, A., Medina, R. J. & Grieve, D. J., 01 Apr 2019, In : Cardiovascular Research.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Fetal Blood
Reactive Oxygen Species
Blood Vessels
NADPH Oxidase
1 Citation (Scopus)
196 Downloads (Pure)

Enhanced Function of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Endothelial Cells Through ESM1 Signaling

Vilà-González, M., Kelaini, S., Magee, C., Caines, R., Campbell, D., Eleftheriadou, M., Cochrane, A., Drehmer, D., Tsifaki, M., O'Neill, K., Pedrini, E., Yang, C., Medina, R., McDonald, D., Simpson, D., Zampetaki, A., Zeng, L., Grieve, D., Lois, N., Stitt, A. W. & 1 others, Margariti, A., 17 Nov 2018, In : Stem Cells.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Endothelial Cells
Vascular Diseases
Preclinical Drug Evaluations
Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy
4 Citations (Scopus)
164 Downloads (Pure)
Open Access
Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III
Blood Vessels
Endothelial Cells
9 Citations (Scopus)
267 Downloads (Pure)

Development of polymeric–cationic peptide composite nanoparticles, a nanoparticle-in-nanoparticle system for controlled gene delivery

Jain, A. K., Massey, A., Yusuf, H., McDonald, D. M., McCarthy, H. O. & Kett, V. L., 24 Nov 2015, In : International Journal of Nanomedicine. 2015, 10, p. 7183—7196 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Gene Transfer Techniques
Composite materials
10 Citations (Scopus)
148 Downloads (Pure)

Diabetic Retinopathy: Mechanism, Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment

Al-Shabrawey, M., Zhang, W. & McDonald, D., 2015, In : BioMed Research International. 2015, 2 p., 854593.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

Open Access

Activities 2015 2015

  • 1 Participation in conference
  • 1 Editorial activity


Denise McDonald (Speaker)
Jul 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

BioMed Research International (Journal)

Denise McDonald (Guest editor)

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity