Paul Brownbill, PhD

Maternal & Fetal Health Research Group
Centre for Womens Health
Institute of Human Development
Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences
University of Manchester
St. Marys Hospital, Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9WL, UK


Dr. Brownbill studied Applied Biological Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University. With a keen interest in physiology, he first pursued a career into secretory epithelia and the expression of transporter proteins. and he transferred to the Maternal & Fetal Health Research Group, University of Manchester, studying the transplacental transfer of solute and water, characterised the transplacental paracellular route across the syncytiotrophoblast and then investigated the regulation of fetoplacental vascular tone. He received his MPhil and PhD for his work in this field and continue to work within this high profile research centre as a Research Fellow, where he study human placental physiology and toxicology.
He have undertaken EU networking and industrial collaborations to establish the ex vivo dual human placental perfusion system and other placental models to study the toxic effects of medicines and their transplacental transfer. He expects this to influence UK and EU regulatory policies on testing of drugs for use in pregnancy in the near future.
Further interests include investigating the aetiology of compromised fetoplacental blood flow in relation to the fetoplacental endotheliumin fetal growth restriction, this condition also associates with his work on the mechanisms of placental pathology in stillbirth pregnancies.

Research Interest

His research interest include: Maternal and Fetal blood flow and Flow matching, and have catalysed the establishment of an international network of placental physiologists, Pathologists, Clinicians, biophysicists and Mathematical modellers interested in understanding this in relation to normal placental sufficiency and in pathological pregnancies. Other interests are centred on Cell free haemoglobin in the placenta with respect to dysregulation of fetoplacental vascular physiology as well as inflammatory effects within the placenta and in Adult haemolytic diseases.

Scientific Activities


• Physiological Society
• British Microcirculation Society
• European Society for Microcirculation
• International Federation of Placental Associations
• Fetal and Neonatal Physiological Society
• European Placenta Group
• Blair Bell Society



1. Brownbill P, Edwards D, Jones CP, et al. Mechanisms of alphafetoprotein transfer in the perfused human placenta cotyledon from uncomplicated pregnancy. J Clin Invest. 1995; 96: 2220-2226. doi: 10.1172/JCI118277
2. Sibley CP, Birdsey TJ, Brownbill P, et al. Mechanisms of maternofetal exchange across the human placenta. Biochem Soc Trans. 1998; 26: 86-91.
3. Ratts VS, Tao XJ, Webster CB, et al. Regulation of apoptotic cell death within the trophoblastic layer: role of BCL-2, BAX and BAK in the term human placenta. J Soc Gynecol Invest. 1998; 5: T358.
4. Brownbill P, Mahendran D, Owen D, et al. Denudations as paracellular routes for alphafetoprotein and creatinine across the human syncytiotrophoblast. Am J Physiol. 2000; 278: R677-R683.
5. Ratts VS, Tao XJ, Webster CB, et al. Expression of BCL-2, BAX and BAK in the trophoblast layer of the term human placenta: A unique model of apoptosis within a syncytiotrophoblast. Placenta. 2000; 21: 361-366. doi:
6. Brownbill P, Bell NJ, Woods RJ, Lowry PJ, Page NM, Sibley CP. Neurokinin B is a paracrine vasodilator in the human fetal placental circulation. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003; 88: 2164-2170. doi:
7. Leach L, Badet J, Brownbill P, et al. Endothelium, blood vessels and angiogenesis-a workshop report. Placenta. 2006; 27: 26-29. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2006.01.022
8. Brownbill P, Sibley CP. Regulation of transplacental water transfer: the role of fetoplacental venous tone. Placenta. 2006; 27: 560-567. doi:
9. Cleal JK, Brownbill P, Godfrey KM, et al. Modification of fetal plasma amino acid composition by placental amino acid exchangers in vitro. J Physiol. 2007; 582(2): 871-882.
10. Brownbill P, McKeeman GC, Brockelsby JC, Crocker IP, Sibley CP. Vasoactive and permeability effects of vascular endothelial growth factor-165 in the term in vitro dually perfused human placental lobule. Endocrinology. 2007; 148: 4734-4744. doi:
11. Brownbill P, Mills TA, Soydemir DF, Sibley CP. Vasoactivity to and endogenous release of vascular endothelial growth factor in the in vitro perfused human placental lobule from pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia. Placenta. 2008; 29: 950-955. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2008.08.020
12. Jones NW, Hutchinson ES, Brownbill P, et al. In vitro dual perfusion of human placental lobules as a flow phantom to investigate the relationship between fetoplacental flow and quantitative 3D power doppler angiography. Placenta. 2009; 30(2): 130-135.
13. Hutchinson ES, Brownbill P, Jones NW, et al. Utero-placental haemodynamics in the pathogenesis of pre-eclampsia. Placenta. 2009; 30: 634-641. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2009.04.011
14. Sibley CP, Brownbill P, Dilworth MR, Glazier JD. Adaptation in Placental Nutrient Supply to Meet Fetal Growth Demand: Implications for Programming. Placenta 31(A) Trophoblast Research. 2010; 24: S70-S74. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2009.12.020
15. Soydemir F, Kuruvilla S, Brown M, et al. Adapting in vitro dual perfusion of the human placenta to soluble oxygen tensions associated with normal and pre-eclamptic pregnancy. Lab Invest. 2011; 91(2): 181-189. doi: 10.1038/labinvest.2010.171
16. Abumaree MH, Brownbill P, Burton G, et al. IFPA Meeting 2013 Workshop Report III: Maternal placental immunological interactions, novel determinants of trophoblast cell fate, dual ex vivo perfusion of the human placenta. Placenta. 2014; 35: S15-S19. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2013.11.009
17. Jain A, Schneider H, Aliyev E, et al. Hypoxic treatment of human dual placental perfusion induces a preeclampsia-like inflammatory response. Lab Invest. 2014; 94: 873-880. doi: 10.1038/labinvest.2014.76.
18. Junaid TO, Brownbill P, Chalmers N, Johnstone ED, Aplin JD. Fetoplacental vascular alterations associated with fetal growth restriction. Placenta. 2014; 35: 808-815. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2014.07.013
19. Serov AS, Salafia CM, Brownbill P, Grebenkov DS, Filoche M. Optimal villi density for maximal oxygen uptake in the human placenta. J Theor Biol. 2015; 364: 383-396. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2014.07.013
20. Brownbill P. Human placentas and the changing face of reproductive toxicology testing. Gynecol Obstet Res Open J. 2015; 2(3): e9-e10. doi: 10.17140/GOROJ-2-e004