Dr. John Mackrill

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Senior Lecturer

In 1990, Dr. John Mackrill obtained a 1st class BSc in Biology and the June Mahon Prize for Molecular Parasitology from Imperial College, London. He went on to carry out a PhD on calcium channel protein biochemistry at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill London. In 1994, he was engaged as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leicester, working on inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor calcium channels. In 1997, Dr. Mackrill was recruited as an EU-Training and Motility in Research Fellow on excitation-contraction coupling at the Department of Biochemistry, University College Cork (UCC). He was subsequently awarded an HRB Career Development Fellowship on calcium signalling in smooth muscle. In 2005, he was engaged as a lecturer in Physiology, UCC and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2018. He a Fellow of the Physiological Society and is the local organiser of the 16th International Meeting of the European Calcium Society, which will be held at UCC in August 2022: https://www.ucc.ie/en/ecs2022/. This meeting will include a session entitled “Different Dimensions of Ca2+ Signalling in Cancer”.


Calcium ions act as a key second messenger in all cells, regulating processes ranging from motility, gene expression to cell death. Dr. Mackrill has diverse research interests, reflecting the utility of this second messenger. In terms of cancer research, his laboratory is focussed on how calcium signalling mechanisms are altered in cancer cells and how this modifies their metastasis, growth and survival. For example, his team is currently studying how calcium signalling mechanisms in oesophageal cancer cells respond to extracellular acid. This is of potential translational impact, since gastro-oesophageal reflux disease is a risk factor for this cancer and is associated with bouts of abnormally low pH in the oesophagus. Understanding how acid alters calcium levels in oesophageal cancer cells, with subsequent changes in their cell biology, might lead to new ways of treating this disease.


Breakthrough Cancer Research

Irish Research Council

Science Foundation Ireland


Cancer Research @UCC

4th floor, Western Gateway Building , Western Road, Cork