Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology


Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences

5 West 2.18
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 38 6793


Prof Rex Tyrrell


Cellular And Molecular Biology Of Solar Ultraviolet Radiation - Pathways Of Damage And Defence

Excessive exposure to sunlight causes nearly all skin cancer in humans. We study the action of solar ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) radiation on cultured human skin cells in order to understand the pathways by which cells and tissue are damaged by sunlight, and artificial UV sources and to elucidate possible mechanisms of cellular defence. The latter involves both macromolecular repair and endogenous antioxidant activity. The data generated contributes to more effective protection strategies (more rational use of sunscreens etc.) in humans.

Having established in the early seventies that the UVA component of sunlight constitutes a major oxidative stress in cells, we identified a stress protein induced by UVA radiation as the heme catabolising enzyme heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1). This was the first step in the characterisation of heme oxygenase as a major anti-inflammatory and antioxidant stress protein in humans. Since the enzyme is involved in all forms of inflammatory disease there is now a major interest in studying regulation of this gene in order to identify novel therapeutics and my group now focuses particularly on negative regulation.

Brief professional biography

Professor Tyrrell is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences and has been an associate editor for eight other journals He served as secretary general of the International Photobiology Association from 1984 to 1992 and was the first treasurer of the European Photobiology Society from 1986 to 1993.  He has just been elected as a future President of the European Society for Photobiology and will serve on the society executive as the President Elect before becoming President of the society in September 2015.

He has served on several national and international committees including the sub-committee on ultraviolet that formed part of the National (UK) advisory group on non-ionizing radiation and was member of the working group for both the IARC monograph on sunlight and the later monograph on sunscreens. In 2003 he received the Medal of the European Society of Photobiology given for "outstanding research contributions to photobiology".


Ge, H., Riss, P. J., Mirabello, V., Calatayud, D. G., Flower, S. E., Arrowsmith, R. L., Fryer, T. D., Hong, Y., Sawiak, S., Jacobs, R. M. J., Botchway, S. W., Tyrrell, R. M., James, T. D., Fossey, J. S., Dilworth, J. R., Aigbirhio, F. I. and Pascu, S. I., 2017. Behavior of Supramolecular Assemblies of Radiometal-Filled and Fluorescent Carbon Nanocapsules In Vitro and In Vivo. Chem, 3 (3), pp. 437-460.

Zhong, J. L., Raval, C. M., Nisar, M. F., Bian, C., Zhang, J., Yang, L. and Tyrrell, R. M., 2014. Development of refractoriness of ho-1 induction to a second treatment with uva radiation and the involvement of nrf2 in human skin fibroblasts. Photochemistry and Photobiology, 90 (6), pp. 1340-1348.

Al-Qenaei, A., Yiakouvaki, A., Reelfs, O., Santambrogio, P., Levi, S., Hall, N. D., Tyrrell, R. M. and Pourzand, C., 2014. Role of intracellular labile iron, ferritin, and antioxidant defence in resistance of chronically adapted Jurkat T cells to hydrogen peroxide. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 68, pp. 87-100.

Arrowsmith, R., Kociok-Kohn, G., Eggleston, I., Tyrrell, R., Dilworth, J. R., Aigbirhio, F. I. and Pascu, S., 2014. Intrinsically fluorescent bis(thiosemicarbazonates) with high kinetic stability in biological environments: synthetic scaffolds for optical/PET or SPECT dual-modality imaging agent. Journal of Labelled Compounds & Radiopharmaceuticals, 57 (3), pp. 189-190.

Dixon, N. C., Hurst, T. L., Talbot, D. C.s., Tyrrell, R. M. and Thompson, D., 2013. Effect of short-term reduced physical activity on cardiovascular risk factors in active lean and overweight middle-aged men. Metabolism, 62 (3), pp. 361-368.

Tyrrell, R. M., 2013. Solar uv damage and skin protection:the boosting of natural defences and healing by cosmeceuticals. In: Bulletin Technique Gattefossé N° 106.Vol. 106. France: , pp. 70-79.

Hu, Z., Pantoș, G. D., Kuganathan, N., Arrowsmith, R., Jacobs, R. M. J., Kociok-Köhn, G., O'Byrne, J., Jurkschat, K., Burgos, P., Tyrrell, R. M., Botchway, S. W., Sanders, J. K. M. and Pascu, S. I., 2012. Interactions between amino acid-tagged naphthalenediimide and single walled carbon nanotubes for the design and construction of new bioimaging probes. Advanced Functional Materials, 22 (3), pp. 503-518.

Raval, C. M., Zhong, J. L., Mitchell, S. A. and Tyrrell, R. M., 2012. The role of Bach1 in ultraviolet A mediated human heme oxygenase 1 regulation in human skin fibroblasts. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 52 (1), pp. 227-236.

Tyrrell, R. M., 2012. Modulation of gene expression by the oxidative stress generated in human skin cells by UVA radiation and the restoration of redox homeostasis. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, 11 (1), pp. 135-147.

Aroun, A., Zhong, J. L., Tyrrell, R. M. and Pourzand, C., 2012. Iron, oxidative stress and the example of solar ultraviolet A radiation. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, 11 (1), pp. 118-134.

Lund, A. J. S., Hurst, T. L., Tyrrell, R. M. and Thompson, D., 2011. Markers of chronic inflammation with short-term changes in physical activity. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43 (4), pp. 578-583.

Arrowsmith, R. L., Waghorn, P. A., Jones, M. W., Bauman, A., Brayshaw, S. K., Hu, Z. Y., Kociok-Kohn, G., Mindt, T. L., Tyrrell, R. M., Botchway, S. W., Dilworth, J. R. and Pascu, S. I., 2011. Fluorescent gallium and indium bis(thiosemicarbazonates) and their radiolabelled analogues: Synthesis, structures and cellular confocal fluorescence imaging investigations. Dalton Transactions, 40 (23), pp. 6238-6252.

Wagener, F., Scharstuhl, A., Tyrrell, R. M., Von den Hoff, J. W., Jozkowicz, A., Dulak, J., Russel, F. G. M. and Kuijpers-Jagtman, A. M., 2010. The heme-heme oxygenase system in wound healing:Implications for scar formation. Current Drug Targets, 11 (12), pp. 1571-1585.

Li, H., Li, L., Deng, L., Singh, G., Tyrrell, R. M. and Zhong, J. L., 2010. A role for Nrf2 in UVA-mediated heme oxygenase induction and protection from membrane damage in human skin fibroblasts. Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, 7845, 78450X.

Pascu, S. I., Waghorn, P. A., Arrowsmith, R. L., Bayly, S. R., Dilworth, J. R., Christlieb, M., Tyrrell, R. M., Zhong, J. L., Kowalczyk, R. M., Collison, D., Churchill, G. C. and Aigbirhio, F. I., 2010. Fluorescent copper(II) bis(thiosemicarbazonates):Fromsynthesis to radiolabelling, in vitro cytotoxicity andconfocal fluorescence microscopy. Journal of Labelled Compounds & Radiopharmaceuticals, 53 (7-8), pp. 527-528.

Thompson, D., Markovitch, D., Betts, J. A., Mazzatti, D. J., Turner, J. E. and Tyrrell, R. M., 2010. Time-course of changes in inflammatory markers during a 6-mo exercise intervention in sedentary middle-aged men: a randomized-controlled trial. Journal of Applied Physiology, 108 (4), pp. 769-779.

Zhong, J. L., Raval, C., Edwards, G. P. and Tyrrell, R. M., 2010. A role for Bach1 and HO-2 in suppression of basal and UVA-induced HO-1 expression in human keratinocytes. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 48 (2), pp. 196-206.

Zhong, J. L., Edwards, G. P., Raval, C., Li, H. B. and Tyrrell, R. M., 2010. The role of Nrf2 in ultraviolet A mediated heme oxygenase 1 induction in human skin fibroblasts. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, 9 (1), pp. 18-24.

Xu, R., Liu, W., Zhang, J., Yang, L., Deng, L., Tyrrell, R. M. and Zhong, J. L., 2010. Light induced heme oxygenase 1 is suppressed by Bach1 in human skin keratinocytes. Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, 7845, 78450Z.

Markovitch, D., Tyrrell, R. M., Tauler, P., Frystyk, J., Stokes, K. and Thompson, D., 2009. Lycopene supplementation (passata sauce) reduces apoptosis but does not affect oxidant-responsive heme oxygenase-1 in human lymphocytes. Nutrition, 25 (6), pp. 668-675.

Reeve, V. E., Tyrrell, R. M., Allanson, M., Domanski, D. and Blyth, L., 2009. The role of interleukin-6 in UVA protection against UVB-induced immunosuppression. Journal Of Investigative Dermatology, 129 (6), pp. 1539-1546.

Dixon, N. C., Hurst, T. L., Talbot, D. C. S., Tyrrell, R. M. and Thompson, D., 2009. Active middle-aged men have lower fasting inflammatory markers but the postprandial inflammatory response is minimal and unaffected by physical activity status. Journal of Applied Physiology, 107 (1), pp. 63-68.

Markovitch, D., Tyrrell, R. M. and Thompson, D., 2008. Acute moderate-intensity exercise in middle-aged men has neither an anti- nor pro-inflammatory effect. Journal of Applied Physiology, 105 (1), pp. 260-265.

Markovitch, D., Tyrrell, R. M. and Thompson, D., 2008. Anticipation of subsequent demanding exercise increases the expression of haem oxygenase-1 mRNA in human lymphocytes. Stress - The International Journal on the Biology of Stress, 11 (1), pp. 79-82.

This list was generated on Mon Oct 23 01:29:28 2017 IST.

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