Professor Wendy Purcell
Profiles

Professor Wendy Purcell

Vice-Chancellor & President

Office of the Vice Chancellor

Role

Professor Wendy Purcell was appointed as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University with effect from 01 December 2007

Qualifications

Professor Purcell studied here at the University of Plymouth where she obtained a BSc Honours degree in Biological Sciences in 1985. After a PhD in Immunopharmacology with the University of Hertfordshire and University College London she went on to postdoctoral research and then moved into academe in 1990 joining the Roehampton Institute to teach health studies and related bioscience programmes. She then moved to a senior lecturer post in Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Hertfordshire in 1992 and was promoted to Head of Division: Physiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology in 1993, a post she held until her appointment at the University of the West of England as Associate Dean and Head of Department in Biological and Biomedical Sciences in 1997. Professor Purcell was appointed Executive Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences at UWE in 2000 and held this post through to 2005, the latter two years of which were held alongside a corporate role of Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research). In 2005, Professor Purcell was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire and held this position through to her appointment as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Plymouth.

Professor Purcell has an international reputation in her field of biomedical research and led a number of research teams in developing cell culture models for preclinical studies. Funded by industry, medical charities, Research Councils UK (BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC) and the EU, she attracted millions in research grants, published widely in international journals and had patents applications filed on her work. She is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and is active in the field of leadership practice.

Professional membership

In July 2013, Professor Purcell was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of the UK Government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), in light of her extensive knowledge and experience as a leading figure in the Higher Education sector. Professor Purcell has also acted as a Special Adviser to BIS on Sir Andrew Witty’s Review of Universities and Economic Growth (2013) and Sir Adrian Smith’s Postgraduate Review (2010).

 Professor Purcell is Chair of the Healthcare Science Council in Higher Education, Member of the Health Education England (HEE) Genomics Advisory Board and HEE Healthcare Science Implementation Network Group. She also co-chaired the Healthcare Science Clinical Academic Careers Strategy Group with Sir Ron Kerr, Chief Executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

In April 2013, Professor Purcell became a Trustee and Director of the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges in light of Plymouth University’s national and international standing on sustainability issues. She is a member of Universities UK (UUK) Long-term Strategy Group, and a member of two UUK Policy Networks, namely Employment, Business & Innovation and Health Education & Research. Professor Purcell was a member of the HEFCE Strategic Advisory Committee on Leadership, Governance and Management and led a national leadership project on enterprising leadership in the sector.

Professor Purcell is a member by invitation of the National Centre for Universities and Business, a Board member of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and is on the CBI South West Council and the SW Science and Industry Council. She is a Trustee of the National Marine Aquarium, the Drake Foundation and The Lord Caradon Lectures Trust. 

Previously Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Dean of Applied Sciences at the University of the West of England, Professor Purcell has an international reputation in her field of biomedical research and led research teams in developing cell culture models for preclinical studies. Funded by industry, medical charities, Research Councils UK (BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC) and the EU, she attracted many millions in research grants, published widely in international journals and had patents applications filed on her work. 

Professor Wendy Purcell is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and is active in the field of leadership practice and new models in HE.

Research interests

Alternatives to animals; pharmacology; toxicology; immunology; mast cell biology; inflammation and neuroimmunology; neurotrophic factors; neurodegeneration; spheroid models in toxicity testing, drug screening; and metabolism studies; in vitro blood-brain barrier models.

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

  • Successful PhD completions: n=11 
  • Current PhD Supervisions n= 2 
  • European Science Fellowship (Toxicology) 1996, supervisor to Ms Charlotte Teunissen of the Institute of Medical Chemistry, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Austria for a programme of work entitled 'The use of histotypic brain spheroids in studying polychlorinated biphenyl-induced neurotoxicity'. 
  • ERASMUS Toxicology (1993-94), research studentships,Hogeschool Gelderland, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Mr Rogier van Otterlo, Ms Marianka Derks.

Grants & contracts

Academic Awards

  • TMP Fellow 2001 (TMP2), UCoSDA 2000/01 cohort.
  • Professorship, Bristol UWE: April 1997
  • Media Fellowship 1996: The Wellcome Trust Media Fellow with the BBC World Service Science Unit, July-September 1996; British Association, COPUS.
  • Research grants: EPSRC, BBSRC, MAFF, ESRC, The Wellcome Trust, Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research, The Nuffield Foundation, The Royal Society, Roche Discovery, Amersham Pharmacia Biotech, Pfizer.
  • Travel grants/bursaries: The Wellcome Trust, Royal Society, The Nuffield Foundation, British Pharmacological Society, European Histamine Research Society, Roche Products Ltd and Corning Hazleton Europe.

Research Consultancy

  • Pfizer, Amboise, France: in vitro hepatoxicity 
  • Amersham Pharmacia Biotech, Cardiff: in vitro hepatotoxicty 
  • Genentech, San Francisco, US: mast cells and neuro-immunology & toxicity
  • CellTox Centre, University of Hertfordshire: immunotoxicity (mast cell toxicity) in vitro, neurotoxicity, neuropharmacology

Rawson FJ, Purcell WM, Xu J, Cowell DCC, Fielden PR, Biddle N & Hart JP (2007).
FABRICATION AND CHARACTERISATION OF NOVEL SCREEN-PRINTED TUBULAR MICROBAND ELECTRODES AND THEIR APPLICATION TO THE MEASUREMENT OF HYDROGEN PEROXIDE.
Electrochimica Acta (in press)

Liu J, Kuznetsova A, Edwards GO, Xu J, Purcell WM, Jackson SK & Coakley T (2007)
FUNCTONAL THREE-DIMENSIONAL HEPG2 AGGREGATE CULTURES FROM AN ULTRASOUND COMPARISON WITH HEPG2 SPHEROIDS
J Cell Biochem ( in press: Epub ahead of print 17April 2007)

Xu J and Purcell WM (2006)
ENERGY METABOLISM AND BIOTRANSFORMATION AS ENDPOINTS TO PRE-SCREEN HEPATOTOXICITY USING A LIVER SPHEROID MODEL
Toxicol & Appl Pharmac 216: 293-302

Uroukov IS, Ma M, Bull L and Purcell WM (2006)
ELECTROPHYSIOLOGICAL MEASUREMENTS IN THREE-DIMENSIONAL IN VIVO-MIMETIC ORGANOTYPIC CELL CULTURES: PRELIMINARY STUDIES WITH HEN EMBRYO BRAIN SPHEROIDS
Neurosci Letts 404: 33-38

Waits PS, Purcell WM, Fulford AJ & McLeod JD (2004)
NOCICEPTIN/ORPHANIN FQ MODULATES HUMAN T CELL FUNCTION IN VITRO
J Neuroimmunol 149: 110-120

Sales KM, Kingston ST, Doyle KM & Purcell WM (2004)
PRELIMINARY CHARACTERISATION OF AN IN VITRO PARADIGM FOR THE STUDY OF THE DELAYED EFFECTS OF ORGANOPHOSPHORUS COMPOUNDS: HEN EMBRYO BRAIN SPHEROIDS
Toxicol 195: 187-202

Tan KH, Harrington S, Purcell WM & Hurst RD (2004)
PEROXYNITRITE MEDIATES NITRIC OXIDE-INDUCED BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER DAMAGE.
Neurochem Res 29(3): 579-587

Purcell WM, Atterwill CK & Xu J (2003)
CRYOPRESERVATION OF ORGANOTYPIC BRAIN SPHEROID CULTURES.
ATLA 31: 563-573

Morgan J, Spengler JF, Kuznetsova L, Coakley WT, Xu J & Purcell WM (2003)
MANIPULATION OF IN VITRO TOXICANT SENSORS IN AN ULTRASONIC STANDING WAVE.
Toxicology In Vitro 18(1), 115-120

Ma M, Xu J & Purcell WM (2003)
BIOCHEMICAL AND FUNCTIONAL CHANGES OF RAT LIVER SPHEROIDS DURING SPHEROID FORMATION AND MAINTENANCE IN CULTURE. I. MORPHOLOGICAL MATURATION AND KINETICS CHANGES OF ENERGY METABOLISM, ALBUMIN SYNTHESIS AND ACTIVITIES OF SOME ENZYMES.
Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 90(6):1166-1175

Xu J, Ma M & Purcell WM (2003)
BIOCHEMICAL AND FUNCTIONAL CHANGES OF RAT LIVER SPHEROIDS DURING SPHEROID FORMATION AND MAINTENANCE IN CULTURE. II. NITRIC OXIDE SYNTHESIS AND RELATED CHANGES.
Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 90(6): 1176-1185

Xu J, Ma M & Purcell WM (2003)
CHARACTERISATION OF SOME CYTOTOXIC ENDPOINTS USING RAT LIVER AND HEPG2 SPHEROIDS AS IN VITRO MODELS AND THEIR APPLICATION IN HEPATOTOXICITY STUDIES. I. GLUCOSE METABOLISM AND ENZYME RELEASE AS CYTOTOXIC MARKERS.
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 189: 100-111

Xu J, Ma M & Purcell WM (2003)
CHARACTERISATION OF SOME CYTOTOXIC ENDPOINTS USING RAT LIVER AND HEPG2 SPHEROIDS AS IN VITRO MODELS AND THEIR APPLICATION IN HEPATOTOXICITY STUDIES. II. SPHEROID CELL SPREADING INHIBITION AS A NEW CYTOTOXIC MARKER.
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 189: 112-119

Zeina B, Greenman J, Corry D & Purcell, WM (2003)
ANTIMICROBIAL PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY: ASSESSMENT OF GENOTOXIC EFFECTS ON KERATINOCYTES IN VITRO.
Br J Dermatol 148(2): 229-232

Tan KH, Purcell WM, Heales SJ, McLeod JD & Hurst R (2002)
ACTIVATED T CELLS MEDIATE DIRECT BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER ENDOTHELIAL CELL DEATH AND DYSFUNCTION.
NeuroReport 13(18): 2587-2591

Tan KH, Purcell WM, Heales SJ, McLeod JD & Hurst RD (2002)
EVALUATION OF THE ROLE OF P-GLYCOPROTEIN IN INFLAMMATION INDUCED BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER DAMAGE.
NeuroReport 13(18): 2593-2597

Xu J, Ma M & Purcell WM (2002)
OPTIMIZING THE ENZYMATIC DETERMINATION OF GALACTOSE IN THE CULTURE MEDIUM OF RAT LIVER AND HEPPG2 CELL SPHEROIDS.
Anal Biochem 311(2): 179-181

Bollard MW, Xu J, Purcell WM, Griffin JL, Quirk C & Holmes E (2002)
METABOLIC PROFILING OF THE EFFECTS OF D-GALACTOSAMINE IN LIVER SPHEROIDS USING (1)h NMR AND MAS-NMR SPECTROSCOPY.
Chem Res Toxicol 15(11): 1351-1359

Zeina B, Greenman J, Corry D & Purcell WM (2002)
CYTOTOXIC EFFECTS OF ANTIMICROBIAL PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY ON KERATINOCYTES IN VITRO.
Br J Dermatol 146(4): 568-573

Hutchings A, Guay-Woodford L, Thomas JM, Young CJ, Purcell WM, Pravica V, Perrey C, Hutchinson IV & Benfield MR (2002)
ASSOCIATION OF CYTOKINE SINGLE NUCLEOTIDE POLYMORPHISMS WITH B7 COSTIMULATORY MOLECULES IN KIDNEY ALLOGRAFT RECIPIENTS.
Pediatr Transplant 6(1): 69-77

Hutchings A, Purcell WM & Benfield MR (2001)
INCREASED CONSTIMULATORY RESPONSES IN AFRICAN-AMERICAN KIDNEY ALLOGRAFT RECIPIENTS.
Transplantation 71(5):692-695

Zeina B, Greenman J, Purcell WM & Das B (2001)
KILLING OF CUTANEOUS MICROBIAL SPECIES BY PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY.
Br J Dermatol 144(2): 274-278

Lakhani K, Constantinovici N, Purcell WM, Fernando R & Hardiman P (2000)
INTERNAL CAROTID-ARTERY RESPONSE TO 5% CARBON DIOXIDE IN WOMEN WITH POLYCYSTIC OVARIES.
Lancet. 356(9236): 1166-1167

Xu J, Purcell WM & Ray DE. (2000)
AGE DIFFERENCE IN THE METAOLISM OF P-BROMOPHENYLACETYLUREA IN THE RAT: AN IMPLICATION FOR AGE-RELATED SUSCEPTIBILITY TO ITS NEUROTOXICITY.
Neurotoxicology. 21(3): 289-293

Lakhani K, Constantinovici N, Purcell WM, Fernando R & Hardiman P. (2000)
INTERNAL CAROTID ARTERY HAEMODYNAMICS IN WOMEN WITH POLYCYSTIC OVARIES.
Clin Sci (Lond). 98(6): 661-665

Xu J, Purcell WM & Ray DE. (2000)
TOXICOKINETICS AND METABOLISM OF P-BROMOPHENYLACETYLUREA IN THE RAT.
Xenobiotica. 30(3): 307-315

Sales KM, Kingston ST, Atterwill CK & Purcell WM (2000)
AVIAN WHOLE-BRAIN SPHEROID CULTURES: APPLICATIONS IN PESTICIDE TOXICITY.
Pest Manag Sci 56: 825-827

Stephan S, Purcell WM & Chander CL (1999)
COLONY STIMULATING FACTORS REGULATE LEVELS OF NITRIC OXIDE AND PROSTAGLANDIN E2 PRODUCATION IN RAT CARTILAGE CHONDROCYTES.
Int J Tissue React. 21(4): 25-31

Hutchings A, Purcell WM & Benfield MR. (1999)
PERIPHERAL BLOOD ANTIGEN-PRESENTING CELLS FROM AFRICAN-AMERICANS EXHIBIT INCREASED CD80 AND CD86 EXPRESSION.
Clin Exp Immunol. 118(2): 247-252
Xu J, Nolan CC, Lister T, Purcell WM & Ray DE. (1999)
PHARMACOKINETIC FACTORS AND CONCENTRATION-TIME THRESHOLD IN M-DINITROBENZENE-INDUCED NEUROTOXICITY.
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 161(3): 267-273

Xu J, Lamb J, Jukes R, Purcell WM & Ray DE (1999)
APPLICATION OF THE HIGH-PERFORMANCE LIQUID CHROMATOGRAPHIC METHOD FOR SEPARATION, PURIFICATION AND CHARACTERISATION OF P-BROMOPHENYLACETYLUREA AND ITS METABOLITES.
J Chromatogr B Biomed Sci Appl. 732(2): 349-356

Brooks AC, Whelan CJ & Purcell WM (1999)
REACTIVE OXYGEN SPECIES GENERATION AND HISTAMINE RELEASE BY ACTIVATED MAST CELLS: MODULATION BY NITRIC OXIDE SYNTHASE INHIBITION.
Br J Pharmacol 128(3): 585-590

Xu J, Lister T, Purcell WM & Ray DE. (1999)
NEUROTOXIC ‘POTENTIATION’ IS RELATED TO A METABOLIC INTERACTION BETWEEN P-BROMOPHENYLACETYLUREA AND PHENYLMETHANESULFONYL FLUORIDE.
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 157(3): 222-226

Atterwill CK, Goldfarb P & Purcell WM (1999)
APPROACHES TO HIGH THROUGHPUT TOXICITY SCREENING
Book: Publishers, Taylor & Francis; 0 7484 0752 9

Lakhani KP, Marsh MS, Purcell WM & Hardiman P (1998)
UTERINE ARTERY BLOOD FLOW PARAMETERS IN WOMEN WITH DYSFUNCTIONAL UTERINE BLEEDING AND UTERINE FIBROIDS: THE EFFECTS OF TRANEXAMIC ACID.
Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 11(4): 283-285

Teunissen CE, Kingston ST, Morse DC, Purcell WM & Atterwill CK (1998)
Volatile Organic Compounds in the Environment, Risk Assessment and Neurotoxicity, Vol 3. APPLICATION OF RAT AND CHICK WHOLE BRAIN SPHEROIDS TO POLYCHLORINATED BIPHENYL (PCB) NEUROTOXICITY TESTING. Le Collane della Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, PI-ME Press, Pavia, pp 263-272.

Atterwill CK & Purcell WM (1996)
BRAIN SPHEROID AND OTHER ORGANOTYPIC CULTURE SYSTEMS IN IN VITRO NEUROTOXICOLOGY.
Chapter 9, pp. 213-237, in Neurotoxicology In Vitro, Eds. Pentreath, VW & O'Hare S. Taylor & Francis

Purcell WM (1996)
IMMUNOTOXICITY OF VANADIUM: COMMENTARY
Toxicol & Ecotoxicol News 3(5):135

Atterwill CK, Fox RM & Purcell WM (1996)
BRAIN SPHEROIDS IN NEUROTOXICITY TESTING: OPINION.
Toxicology & Ecotoxicology News 3(4): 123-124

Purcell WM, Westgate C & Atterwill CK (1996)
MAST CELLS IN CELLULAR TOXICOLOGY AND TOXICITY TESTING
Toxicology & Ecotoxicology News 3(3):79-84

Purcell WM, Westgate C & Atterwill CK (1996)
RAT BRAIN MAST CELLS: AN IN VITRO PARADIGM FOR ASSESSING THE TOXIC
EFFECTS OF NEUROTROPHIC FACTORS.
Neurotoxicology 17(3-4): 845-850

Purcell WM, Doyle K, Westgate C & Atterwill CK (1996)
CHARACTERISATION OF A FUNCTIONAL POLYAMINE SITE ON RAT MAST CELLS: ASSOCIATION WITH A NMDA RECEPTOR MACROCOMPLEX?
Journal Neuroimmunol 65(1): 49-53

Purcell WM & Atterwill CK (1995)
MAST CELLS IN NEUROIMMUNE FUNCTION: NEUROTOXICOLOGICAL AND
NEUROPHARMACOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES.
Neurochem Res 20(5): 521-532. Review

Purcell WM & Atterwill CK (1994)
HUMAN PLACENTAL MAST CELLS AS AN IN VITRO SYSTEM IN ASPECTS OF NEUROIMMUNOTOXICITY TESTING.
Human Expt Toxicol 13(6): 429-433

Purcell WM & Atterwill CK (1993)
HUMAN MODELS FOR THE IN VITRO ASSESSMENT OF NEUROTOXICITY. Ch.18: p139-168. Human cells in in vitro pharmacotoxicology: present status within Europe. Ed: Rogiers V, Sonck W, Shephard E & Vercruysse A. Brussels.

Purcell WM (1992)
HUMAN PLACENTAL MAST CELLS: A ROLE IN PRE-ECLAMPSIA?
Medical Hypotheses 39(3): 281-283. Review

Purcell WM & Hanahoe THP (1991)
A NOVEL SOURCE OF MAST CELLS: THE HUMAN PLACENTA.
Agents Actions. 33(1-2): 8-12

Purcell WM & Hanahoe THP (1990)
THE ACTIVITY OF AMITRIPTYLINE AS A DIFFERENTIAL INHIBITOR OF AMINE SECRETION FROM RAT PERITONEAL MAST CELLS: THE CONTRIBUTION OF AMINE UPTAKE.
Agents Actions. 30(1-2): 41-43

Purcell WM & Hanahoe THP (1990)
DIFFERENTIAL RELEASE OF HISTAMINE AND 5-HYDROXYTRYPTAMINE FROM RAT MAST CELLS: THE CONTRIBUTION OF AMINE UPTAKE TO THE APPARENT PATTERN OF SECRETION.
Agents Actions 30(1-2): 38-40

Purcell WM, Cohen DL & Hanahoe THP (1989)
COMPARISON OF HISTAMINE AND 5-HYDROXYTRYPTAMINE CONTENT AND SECRETION IN RAT MAST CELLS ISOLATED FROM DIFFERENT ANATOMICAL LOCATIONS.
Int Arch of Allergy Appl Immunol 90(4): 382-386

Purcell WM, Cohen DL & Hanahoe THP (1989)
CONTRIBUTION OF POST-SECRETORY MECHANISMS TO THE OBSERVED PATTERN OF HISTAMINE AND 5-HYDROXYTRYPTAMINE SECRETION, FROM RAT PERITONEAL MAST CELLS IN RESPONSE TO COMPOUND 48/80.
Int Arch of Allergy Appl Immunol 90(4): 387-394

Reports & invited lectures

  • Invited presentation on ‘Economic and social impact of universities in their region: lessons from the University of Hertfordshire and the east of England ’ to the HEFCE Japan-UK Higher Education Policy Forum, Tokyo, Japan.
  • Invited presentation on ‘Organ-like cell culture models as test objects in discovery and pre-clinical sciences’ to the Malaysian Academy of Sciences, Kualan Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Invited presentation on 'Mast cells and the Neuroimmune Axis' at the 14th International Neurotoxicology Conference: Neuroimmunotoxicology, Arkansas, USA. 
  • Invited presentation on 'Mast cells and Neurotrophic Factors' at the International Symposium 'Mast Cells and Cellular Interactions'; Berlin Germany.

Other academic activities

Patents (filed) 

  • Spheroids 
  • CNS Drugs 
  • Preparation of Spheroids 
  • High throughput screen assay