Paul Hartley

Dr Paul Hartley

  • Associate Professor in Cell Physiology
  • Christchurch House C213, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, BH12 5BB
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I obtained my PhD from Edinburgh Medical School’s Centre for Inflammation Research, working on cellular ageing and the clearance of human blood platelets from circulation. After this, I worked for the Medical Research Council and then joined Edinburgh’s Circadian Physiology group where I explored the role of Clock genes in platelet turnover. Having traded human cells for mouse models, the next logical step was flies, a system that allowed me to tractably probe circulatory clearance systems and their impact on cardiovascular biology using the fly's kidney-like nephrocytes. With a British Heart Foundation intermediate science fellowship taking me next to the Sanford Burnham Medical Discovery Institute in San Diego, I learned more about clearance and its impact on organ function and immunity. At Bournemouth I continue to focus on nephrocyte genetics, clearance and its translation to other species' physiology.


I’m interested in understanding the link between gene expression and specialist cellular functions and explore this using the fruit fly Drosophila. The fly provides genetic tractability and offers opportunities to study the impact of a range of factors, from pesticides to ageing, on the physiology and cellular function of insect cardio-renal tissues.

We focus on the heart and kidney-like cells called nephrocytes. We've identified cause and effect relationships between genes and heart dysfunction as well as metabolism and renal function and most recently immune homeostasis. Current work is examining the influence of insect excretory function on pesticide toxicity, as well as nephrocyte tissue architecture in important pollinator species.

Journal Articles

  • Bierzynska, A., Hartley, P.S. et al., 2022. Exploring the relevance of NUP93 variants in steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome using next generation sequencing and a fly kidney model. Pediatric Nephrology, 37 (11), 2643-2656.
  • Sivakumar, S., Miellet, S., Clarke, C. and Hartley, P.S., 2022. Insect nephrocyte function is regulated by a store operated calcium entry mechanism controlling endocytosis and Amnionless turnover. Journal of Insect Physiology, 143.
  • Zechini, L., Camilleri-Brennan, J., Walsh, J., Beaven, R., Moran, O., Hartley, P.S., Diaz, M. and Denholm, B., 2022. Piezo buffers mechanical stress via modulation of intracellular Ca2+ handling in the Drosophila heart. Frontiers in Physiology, 13.
  • Hurcombe, J.A. et al., 2019. Podocyte GSK3 is an evolutionarily conserved critical regulator of kidney function. Nature Communications, 10 (1).
  • Troha, K., Nagy, P., Pivovar, A., Lazzaro, B.P., Hartley, P.S. and Buchon, N., 2019. Nephrocytes Remove Microbiota-Derived Peptidoglycan from Systemic Circulation to Maintain Immune Homeostasis. Immunity, 51 (4), 625-637.e3.
  • Blice-Baum, A.C., Guida, M.C., Hartley, P., Adams, P., Bodmer, R. and Cammarato, A., 2018. As time flies by: Investigating cardiac aging in the short-lived Drosophila model. BBA - Molecular Basis of Disease.
  • Vaughan, L., Marley, R., Miellet, S. and Hartley, P.S., 2018. The impact of SPARC on age-related cardiac dysfunction and fibrosis in Drosophila. Experimental Gerontology, 109, 59-66.
  • Psathaki, O.E., Dehnen, L., Hartley, P.S. and Paululat, A., 2018. Drosophila pericardial nephrocyte ultrastructure changes during ageing. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 173, 9-20.
  • Hartley, P., 2016. SPARC-Dependent Cardiomyopathy in Drosophila. Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics.
  • Ivy, J.R., Drechsler, M., Catterson, J.H., Bodmer, R., Ocorr, K., Paululat, A. and Hartley, P.S., 2015. Klf15 is critical for the development and differentiation of drosophila nephrocytes. PLoS ONE, 10 (8).
  • Hartley, P.S., 2013. Mice housed in groups of 4-6 exhibit a diurnal surge in their platelet count. Platelets, 24 (5), 412-414.
  • Catterson, J.H., Heck, M.M.S. and Hartley, P.S., 2013. Fermitins, the Orthologs of Mammalian Kindlins, Regulate the Development of a Functional Cardiac Syncytium in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS ONE, 8 (5).
  • Tracey, C.J., Pan, X., Catterson, J.H., Harmar, A.J., Hussain, M.M. and Hartley, P.S., 2012. Diurnal expression of the thrombopoietin gene is regulated by CLOCK. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 10 (4), 662-669.
  • Hartley, P.S., 2012. The diurnal tick-tockery of platelet biology. Platelets, 23 (2), 157-160.
  • Catterson, J.H., Knowles-Barley, S., James, K., Heck, M.M.S., Harmar, A.J. and Hartley, P.S., 2010. Dietary modulation of Drosophila sleep-wake behaviour. PLoS ONE, 5 (8).
  • Hartley, P.S., Sheward, J., Scholefield, E., French, K., Horn, J.M., Holmes, M.C. and Harmar, A.J., 2009. Timed feeding of mice modulates light-entrained circadian rhythms of reticulated platelet abundance and plasma thrombopoietin and affects gene expression in megakaryocytes. British Journal of Haematology, 146 (2), 185-192.
  • Hartley, P.S., John Sheward, W., French, K., Horn, J.M., Holmes, M.C. and Harmar, A.J., 2008. Food-entrained rhythmic expression of PER2 and BMAL1 in murine megakaryocytes does not correlate with circadian rhythms in megakaryopoiesis. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 6 (7), 1144-1152.
  • Hartley, P.S., 2007. Platelet senescence and death. Clinical Laboratory, 53 (3-4), 157-166.
  • Hartley, P.S., Savill, J.S. and Brown, S.B., 2007. Hypoglycaemia predisposes platelets to death by affecting calcium homeostasis and mitochondrial integrity. Platelets, 18 (2), 103-112.
  • Hartley, P.S., Savill, J. and Brown, S.B., 2006. The death of human platelets during incubation in citrated plasma involves shedding of CD42b and aggregation of dead platelets. Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 95 (1), 100-106.
  • Da Silva, S.J.M., Bayne, R.A.L., Cambray, N., Hartley, P.S., McNeilly, A.S. and Anderson, R.A., 2004. Expression of activin subunits and receptors in the developing human ovary: Activin A promotes germ cell survival and proliferation before primordial follicle formation. Developmental Biology, 266 (2), 334-345.
  • Hartley, P.S., Bayne, R.A.L., Robinson, L.L.L., Fulton, N. and Anderson, R.A., 2002. Developmental changes in expression of myeloid cell leukemia-1 in human germ cells during oogenesis and early folliculogenesis. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 87 (7), 3417-3427.
  • Anderson, R.A., Cambray, N., Hartley, P.S. and McNeilly, A.S., 2002. Expression and localization of inhibin α, inhibin/activin βA and βB and the activin type II and inhibin β-glycan receptors in the developing human testis. Reproduction, 123 (6), 779-788.
  • Hartley, P.S., Dawson, B., Lindsay, C., McCormick, P. and Wishart, G., 1999. Cryopreservation of houbara semen: A pilot study. Zoo Biology, 18, 147-152.


  • Hartley, P.S. and Coward, R.J., 2020. Modeling Podocyte Biology Using Drosophila Nephrocytes. Methods in Molecular Biology. 11-24.


  • Hartley, P., Sivakumar, S. and Clarke, C., 2021. Store operated calcium entry (SOCE) mediates insect nephrocyte clearance function. In: British Society for Cell Biology Dynamic Cell IV 14-19 March 2021 Online.
  • Hurcombe, J. et al., 2017. Podocyte glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) is an evolutionarily conserved master regulator of glomerular/excretory function controlling podocyte differentiation and cell cycling. In: British Renal Association: UK Kidney Week 2017 19-21 June 2017 Liverpool, UK.
  • Sivakumar, S., Coward, R. and Hartley, P.S., 2017. Insect nephrocytes as a model for human podocyte ageing. In: UK Kidney Week 2017 19-21 June 2017 Liverpool.
  • Hartley, P.S., 2015. SPARC mediates cardiac ageing. In: Weinstein meeting on Cardiovascular Development 2015 28 April-2 May 2015 Boston, USA.
  • Ivy, J.R., Catterson, J.H. and Hartley, P., 2012. Drosophila Bteb2, a Kruppel-like transcription factor, specifies and maintains adult pericardial nephrocytes. In: Physiology 2012 10-14 July 2012 Edinburgh, UK..

Profile of Teaching UG

  • Advanced Cell Biology (unit leader)
  • Cell Biology (1st Year BSc Biological Science)
  • Advanced Topics in Genetics (3rd Year BSc Biological Sciences)
  • Biomedical Research Skills (1st Year)
  • Advanced Skills for Biomedical Science (2nd Year)
  • Programme Lead BSc (Hons) Biological Science (2017-2021)
  • Animal Biology, Unit Leader (2nd year)
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology (2nd year)

Invited Lectures

  • Insect nephrocytes model of human podocyte ageing, Liverpool, 20 Jun 2017 more
  • Simple yet sophisticated: Drosophila genetics and, Bristol University, 27 Oct 2015 more
  • A fly way to maintain blood homeostasis, University of Osnabruck, Osnabruck, Germany., 09 Dec 2014 more


  • Establishing the relationship between cardio-circulatory physiology and survivability in Apis mellifera (CB Dennis Trust, 21 Jun 2023). Awarded
  • Optimising Podocyte Power to treat Diabetic Nephropathy (Kidney Research UK, 10 Jul 2018). Awarded
  • Modelling Angiotensin receptor-associated protein (ATRAP) interaction dynamics to define novel targets for treatment of Chronic kidney disease (£220,472; Kidney Research UK) (Kidney Research UK, 01 Jun 2017). Awarded
  • Welcome Trust Seed Award (£100,000) (Wellcome Trust, 11 Jan 2016). Awarded
  • Using the fruit fly Drosophila to understand podocyte biology in diabetic nephropathy - a pilot study (£35,900, Kidney Research UK) (Kidney Research UK, 01 Oct 2015). Awarded
  • Research in the USA on identifying the regulatory pathways controlling human KLF15 using fruit fly genetics (£2430, Carnegie Trust) (Carnegie Trust, 07 Jan 2014). Awarded
  • Travel Award: Fly heart research at the Sanford Burnham Research Institute, La Jolla, California (£7500, SULSA) (SULSA, 15 Jun 2013). Awarded
  • From Flies to Humans: Using Drosophila genetics to study cardiovascular physiology (£422,903, British Heart Foundation) (British Heart Foundation, 01 May 2013). Awarded
  • The role of CLOCK in the control of megakaryocyte development (£142,168, British Heart Foundation) (British Heart Foundation, 01 Oct 2009). Awarded
  • The role of Tuberin and Hamartin (Tsc1 and Tsc2) in the control of Circadian Rhythms (£72,302, Tuberous Sclerosis UK) (Tuberous Sclerosis Association UK, 01 Apr 2008). Awarded

External Responsibilities

  • Worcester University, External Assessor of new degree (2021)
  • India Alliance DBT Wellcome, External fellowship reviewer (2019-)
  • BBSRC, External reviewer (Project Grant) (2018-)
  • University of Bristol, Research collaborator (2017-2018)
  • Wellcome Trust & University of Edinburgh, Collaborator on Seed Award (2016-2017)

Internal Responsibilities

  • Research Impact Visit (Lead), Research Impact Visit
  • Programme leader, Programme Leader Biological Sciences
  • Lead organiser, Lab User Community
  • Impact Champion, Unit of Assessment Panel A, sub group 2; Impact Champion
  • Line Manager, Hartley research group
  • Line Manager, Hartley research group

Journal Reviewing/Refereeing

  • Nature Reviews Nephrology, Anonymous peer review, 01 Jan 2021
  • Journal of America Society for Nephrology, Anonymous peer review, 01 Jan 2021
  • Blood, Anonymous peer review, 03 Aug 2015
  • Journal of experimental biology, Anonymous peer review, 03 Aug 2015
  • Journal of Experimental Cell Research, Anonymous peer review, 03 Aug 2015
  • Kidney international, Anonymous peer review, 03 Aug 2015

Public Engagement & Outreach Activities

  • Nuffiled Research Placement (01 Jun 2015-26 Jun 2015)

Conference Presentations

  • Dynamic Cell IV, Store operated calcium mediates insect nephrocyte clearance function, 14 Mar 2021, UK
  • Physiological Society 2019, Piezo is required to buffer mechanical stress in the heart, 08 Jul 2019, Aberdeen, UK
  • UK Kidney Week, Insect nephrocytes as a model for human podocyte ageing, 19 Jun 2017, Liverpool, UK
  • UK Kidney Week 2017, GSK is an evolutionarily conserved critical regulator of human podocyte function, 19 Jun 2017, Liverpool
  • UK Kidney Week 2017, Novel mutations in NUP93 cause steroid resistant nephrotic syndrome., 19 Jun 2017, Liverpool
  • Weinstein meeting on Cardiovascular Development 2015, SPARC mediates cardiac ageing, 30 Apr 2015, Boston, USA.
  • Weinstein meeting on Cardiovascular Development 2015, SPARC mediates cardiac ageing, 28 Apr 2015, Boston, USA.


  • PhD in Clinical And Surgical Science (University of Edinburgh, 2005)
  • BSc (Hons) in Biotechnology (University of Abertay Dundee, 1999)


  • Investigator Award (awarded after my invited lecture at UK Kidney Week, 2017) (The Renal Association, 2017)


  • Higher Education Academy, Fellow (2018-),
  • Biochem Society, Member (2017-2018),
  • British Society for Cell Biology, Member (2017-),
  • Royal Society of Biology, Member (2017-),


  • Reagent network: we provided transgenic flies and antisera to Dr Friedhelm Hildebrandt (the Warren E. Grupe Professor of Pediatrics) at Harvard Medical School's Division of Nephrology, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • Reagent network: we provided Amnionless and dKlf15 antisera to Marta Carrasco Rando and the Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, Madrid, Spain.