Skip to main content
Lowri Thomas

Dr Lowri Thomas


School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

+44 29208 70636
Redwood Building, Room 1.85, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3NB
Welsh speaking
Available for postgraduate supervision


I began working as a lecturer at the School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2018, having spent most of my career as a British Heart Foundation funded researcher. My research focusses on the massive intracellular cardiac ion channel, the ryanodine receptor (RyR2) and its role in health and disease - in particular, the generation of cardiac arrhythmia. I use mutagenesis and expression techniques to make recombinant ion channel proteins and assess their gating behaviour (i.e. the pattern of opening and closing) using single channel recording in artificial planar lipid bilayers. I'm also interested in looking at in how these molecular events translate into calcium release dysfunction at the cellular level using calcium imaging in live cell systems, as well as how differential regulation and drug treatment affect these phenomena. My teaching interests originate from these studies, including cardiac and vascular physiology and pathophysiology, Ca2+ signalling, ion channel biophysics and drug interactions.



















Book sections



The cardiac ryanodine receptor is responsible for the release of stored intracellular Ca2+ in response to activating signals at the cell membrane. This is a pivotal event in cardiac excitation-coupling: the process which transduces electrical activation of the heart to physical contraction during each heartbeat.  Genetic mutation or dysregulation of this massive ion channel can result in cardiac arrhythmia, which can often be fatal. My research uses molecular techniques to investigate the mechanisms by which this channel dysfunction occurs. We use mutagenesis and recombinant expression techniques to re-create dysfunctional channel proteins, so that we can monitor any Ca2+ release changes in human cell systems. We can also look in great detail at how channel opening and closing patterns are affects (i.e. gating mechanisms) using single channel recoding in artificial planar lipid bilayers. This kind of unique information about channel function will give insight into mutational heterogeneity of dysfunction, which could affect the efficacy of future therapies. Read more about my British Heart Foundation projects here.



  • PH1124 Human Body Systems: lecturer and workshop lead for cardiovascular physiology
  • PH2113 Diseases and Drugs I: lecturer and workshop lead for cardiovascular pharmacology
  • PH4116 Pharmacy Research Project: research project supervisor
  • Contribute to OSCE marking for MPharm years 1-4
  • Personal tutor

MSc Cancer Biology & Therapeutics:

  • PHT801 Cellular & Molecular Biology of Cancer: lecturer for Ca2+ signalling and ion channel involvement in cancer
  • I have supervised projects on PHT805 (non-lab research) and contributed to poster marking


  • Lecturer, school of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2018 – present
  • Research Fellow and co-applicant on BHF Programme grant [Predicting anti-arrhythmic drug efficacy from the divergent molecular basis of RyR2 dysfunction in genetic arrhythmia syndromes (£995,228)], Swansea University Medical School, 2016-2018
  • Senior research associate in the group of Prof Alan Williams, Wales Heart Institute, UHW, Cardiff University School of Medicine 2007 -2016.

During this time I was awarded several BHF research grants as principal investigator [Functional assessment of cardiac ryanodine receptor Ca2+ release channel populations: a direct demonstration of coupled gating? (Project grant, 2016-2019, £223,056) and Resolving the contribution of luminal and cytosolic Ca2+ in the dysfunction of sudden cardiac death-linked mutant RyR2 channels (Studentship, 2014- 2017, (£102,393) and co-investigator [Uncovering the mechanisms involved in the block of Ca2+ release from the cardiac sarcoplasmic reticulum by flecainide (Project grant, 2011-2013,£274,862)], supervised 4 PhD students to completion as well as the work of PDRAs.

  • Research associate in the group of Prof Tony Lai, Wales Heart Institute, UHW, Cardiff University School of Medicine, 2006-2007
  • PhD, Cardiac calcium signalling, Cardiff University, 2005
  • BSc (hons) Genetics, Cardiff University, 2001


Having been fortunate enough to receive the support of the BHF throughout my career I have been involved in a number of engagement opportunities with fundraisers and members of the general public to raise awareness of the research they fund, including: school visits, presentations at the National Eisteddfod, lab tours, radio and television interviews.


I am an accomplished supervisor of post-graduate students and am interested in all projects relating to the function of ryanodine receptors in any setting.

Current Supervision:

Aisha Gendra (2021-) Title: "Investigation of the effects of variant calmodulin on RyR2 in generating arrhythmogenic Ca2+ release: resolving the contribution of phosphorylation"

Tessa Harris (2021- ) Title: “Investigation of cardiomyopathy linked RyR2 mutation within the clamp region and its effects on channel function and arrangement”