• Room 01.005 - CCRCB

    United Kingdom


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research Statement

My urology research programmes bring together cell physiology and molecular biology disciplines to understand the complex cellular signalling systems which underpin normal bladder function and become dysregulated in bladder disease.

We are also investigating the role of ion channels in the progression of urological cancers including bladder and prostate.

Research Interests

I obtained my PhD for research into ion channels on smooth muscle cells from the lower urinary tract. This generated my interest in the cellular basis of spontaneous activity in the bladder and set the focus of my independent research career which was marked by a New Investigator Award from BBSRC to study Kit-positive interstitial cells in the bladder. This work was carried out in the Centre for Biophotonics in the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and formed the foundation for my application to the Wellcome Trust for a University Award (Senior Research Fellowship) in Queen's University Belfast. This award enabled the establishment of my research group in the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology.

As co-PI in the first European Union funded consortium to study urinary incontinence ("INComb" FP7 grant), our group is has made a decisive contribution to the basic cellular mechanisms underlying a condition that affects an estimated 60 million people in Europe and for which there are few effective therapies.

Our current MRC-funded research on bladder toxicity as an adverse effect of radiation therapy will elucidate the molecular mechanisms driving typical lower urinary tract symptoms of urgency, urinary frequency, nocturia and voiding dysfunction that develop during treatment. This translational programme includes a clinical research trial in prostate cancer patients to identify predictive biomarkers of late radiation bladder toxicity.

My interdisciplinary programme on ion channels and cancer exploits electrophysiology, molecular pathology, cell and molecular oncology and biomarker discovery to advance our knowledge of tumour biology.


Key Words

Urinary incontinence; urinary bladder; radiation therapy; smooth muscle; interstitial cells; Ca2+-signalling; electrophysiology; confocal microscopy; urothelial cancer; prostate cancer.





Physiological Basis of Clinical Practice

Biomedical Science and Human Biology

Lectures/Tutorials/Research Training

Molecular Basis of Disease

Clinical Biochemistry

Research project and dissertation

MRes in Translational Medicine

Module coordinator

Research project and dissertation

USA Placement Programme

Programme Coordinator



We are willing to host and support Fellowship applications for PhD or postdoctoral training.

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Research Output

ICI-RS 2019 nocturia think tank: How can experimental science guide us in understanding the pathophysiology of nocturia?

Vahabi, B., Jabr, R., Fry, C., McCloskey, K., Everaert, K., Agudelo, C. W., Monaghan, T. F., Rahnama'i, M. S., Panicker, J. N. & Weiss, J. P., 10 Jan 2020, In : Neurourology and Urodynamics.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  • New targets for overactive bladder-ICI-RS 2109

    Fry, C. H., Chakrabarty, B., Hashitani, H., Andersson, K-E., McCloskey, K., Jabr, R. I. & Drake, M. J., 18 Nov 2019, In : Neurourology and Urodynamics.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  • Spontaneous Activity and the Urinary Bladder

    Fry, C. H. & McCloskey, K. D., 11 Jun 2019, Smooth Muscle Spontaneous Activity. Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd., Vol. 1124. p. 121-147 27 p. (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Acute radiation impacts contractility of guinea-pig bladder strips affecting mucosal-detrusor interactions

    McDonnell, B. M., Buchanan, P. J., Prise, K. M. & McCloskey, K. D., 07 Mar 2018, In : PloS one. 13, 3, 15 p., e0193923.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 3 Citations (Scopus)
    145 Downloads (Pure)

    The detrusor-free bladder - it can still hold its water

    McCloskey, K. D., 22 Dec 2018, In : The Journal of Physiology.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    30 Downloads (Pure)


    Sir Robin MacLellan Prize

    Karen McCloskey (Recipient), 2002

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

    Wellcome Trust Univeristy Award (Senior Research Fellowship)

    Karen McCloskey (Recipient), 2004

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


    • 6 Membership of external research organisation
    • 1 Editorial activity

    American Association for Cancer Research Foundation (External organisation)

    Karen McCloskey (Member)
    2016 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of external research organisation

    Radiation Research Society (External organisation)

    Karen McCloskey (Member)
    2016 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of external research organisation

    British Journal of Pharmacology (Journal)

    Karen McCloskey (Editor)

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

    The Pharmacological Society (External organisation)

    Karen McCloskey (Member)
    2009 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of external research organisation

    The International Continence Society (External organisation)

    Karen McCloskey (Member)
    2008 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of external research organisation