Portrait of Dr Pauline Phelan

Dr Pauline Phelan

Honorary Academic
Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


Pauline Phelan received her PhD from University College London. She was awarded fellowships from the Royal Society and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for postdoctoral training at the Max-Planck Institute in Munich. Returning to the UK, she held research positions at King’s College London and the University of Sussex. From 2000-2020 she has worked at Kent as Lecturer and Senior Lecturer, combining research, teaching and administration/management.
A neuroscientist and cell biologist, Pauline’s long-standing interest is in cell signalling in the nervous system. Her pioneering work in the late 1990s, using a simple model neural circuit in the fruit fly Drosophila, identified the elusive channel components of prechordate gap junctions. Named innexins, these proteins are structural and functional analogues of the chordate connexins, which are implicated in several human disorders. Subsequent work by the lab has investigated how innexins regulate neural development and electrical synaptic transmission, using a combination of molecular genetic, electrophysiological, cell biological and imaging techniques.

Pauline’s particular interest in teaching has been Neuroscience and Human Physiology & Disease, with contribution in several other areas including Cell Signalling and Human Biology. She has recently served 3-year terms of office as Biosciences Director of Education and Faculty of Sciences Director of Student Experience. Through these and other roles, she has led a number of initiatives to enhance the academic and co-curricular experience of students and to promote career education and employability. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  

Last updated