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Dr Nicola Englyst BSc (Hons), PhD

Associate Professor, Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes,Programme Leader for MSc Diabetes Best Practice,Lead for Mentoring Scheme

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As Postgraduate Director of Programmes, I influence the education of national and international health professionals by working with our masters programmes to provide a high quality learning experience. My research team is changing the way we measure and phenotype tiny microvesicles, as well as exploring the relationship between microvesicles and disease. As Lead for the Mentoring Scheme in the Faculty I am committed to helping staff and students reach their full potential.

Challenging perceptions through innovative research, teaching and mentoring.

Dr Englyst graduated with a BSc (Hons) and a PhD from the University of Aberdeen before moving to Cambridge to complete her first postdoctoral research position. She then moved to the University of Southampton in 1999 where she was subsequently awarded a University Career Track Fellowship followed by a Fellowship from Research into Ageing and a National Endowments for Science, Technology and the Arts CRUCIBLE Fellowship. Dr Englyst was appointed as Lecturer in Physiology in 2007 to a post that combines research with teaching, as Coordinator for the Endocrinology and Life Cycle module and Semester 4 Coordinator for BM5 teaching. In 2015, Nicola was appointed as Associate Professor within the Faculty of Medicine as well as Programme Leader for the MSc Diabetes Best Practice, developing this programme to improve patient care in diabetes. In 2018, Nicola has taken on the role of Postgraduate Director of Programmes, taking responsibility for the quality of all our masters programmes in the Faculty. In addition, Nicola has developed the Understanding Insulin MOOC which runs several times each year to help educate about safe use of insulin. So far, they have had over 4000 learners in more than 70 countries.

Dr Englyst’s research interests are based around coagulation, in a translational approach ranging from what happens at the molecular and cellular level through to what happens in the patient. In particular, Dr Englyst researches interactions between coagulation, inflammation, endothelial cells and platelets. These interlinked areas are particularly important in vascular disease and Dr Englyst has a strong interest in the effects of infection and inflammation in ischemic stroke, since patients who have an infection just after a stroke have a worse prognosis. More recently, Dr Englyst has expanded these interests to explore the role of cellular microvesicles in health and disease. Microvesicles Facebook

Dr Englyst is the Chair of the Faculty of Medicine Mentoring Scheme which provides a mentoring service for all staff. As well as maintaining a database of mentors, Dr Englyst organises mentoring workshops and training for both mentors and mentees. Dr Englyst has been involved with the Faculty of Medicine’s Postdoctoral Association since its inception, and currently serves on the committee.


BSc (Hons), Biochemistry, University of Aberdeen (1993)
PhD, University of Aberdeen (1996)
PCAP, University of Southampton (2008)

Appointments held

Research Fellow, Clinical Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge (1996-1999)

Research Fellow, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton (1999-2003)

Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton (2003-2007)

Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton (2007- 2015)

Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton (2015-current)

Research interests

The primary focus of Dr Englyst’s research is the interaction between coagulation, inflammation and the endothelium, via microvesicles. These interactions may be important in health, the natural processes of ageing and a variety of diseases including stroke and cardiovascular disease.


Microvesicles Facebook

The role of coagulation, inflammation, and the vascular endothelium in recovery from ischemic stroke

Endothelial cells lining blood vessels are pivotal in controlling haemostasis and therefore thrombus formation. In addition, inflammation modulates endothelial cell behaviour, whilst endothelial cells contribute to inflammation. Therefore studying the interactions between endothelial cells, coagulation and inflammation may provide insight into the mechanisms involved in stroke. Stroke patients who develop a subsequent infection have a worse prognosis, suggesting that infection and inflammation may also alter physiological recovery pathways after a stroke. This process is currently not understood.

Dr Englyst has generated a database of blood samples, biochemical measurements and clinical information including recovery indices, from a cohort of patients who have had an ischemic stroke, and from age- and gender-matched volunteers. These data have been collected within 72 hours of having a stroke, at 6 months and 2 years. This database has been used to generate a number of publications and abstracts, and provides a resource for future research.

To date, using this cohort, Dr Englyst and her coauthors have demonstrated that;
(1) Resistance to aspirin in platelets is associated with stroke severity and lacunar strokes, as well as high levels of IL-6 in ischemic stroke;
(2) Poor long term recovery from stroke is associated with inflammation and microvascular activation at baseline;
(3) Levels of the naturally occurring anticoagulant, activated protein C, are related to mortality after ischemic stroke.
(4) Body fat levels are related to physiological anticoagulant activity
(5) Weight loss in the 2 years after a stroke may have an inflammatory component, and is associated with a poorer recovery from stroke.

Endothelial microvesicles in health and disease

Microvesicles are produced by a variety of cell types. Of particular interest are endothelial microvesicles. Endothelial microvesicles are produced upon stimulation/activation/damage of endothelial cells, and so may act as an early biomarker for endothelial cell damage. A number of studies have suggested that endothelial microvesicle numbers are elevated in a variety of diseases, including vascular disease. In addition, evidence is accumulating that endothelial microvesicles may have biological roles, for example in signalling. As such, differential expression of proteins and lipids may influence the function of microvesicles significantly.

The current challenge in this field is to develop a robust and sensitive method for counting and phenotyping microvesicles. Dr Englyst, with her collaborator Dr Judith Holloway, have been working on developing such a method, to apply to cardiovascular surgery, stroke and allergy. Their research group is also investigating the role of endothelial microvesicles in coagulation. By characterizing the phenotype and function of microvesicles, it may be possible to use them as early markers of damage to the vasculature or as markers of a poor prognosis, for example bleeding after surgery.

Molecular modulation of physiological vascular anticoagulant pathways

Endothelial cells are critical in maintaining haemostasis, and damage to endothelial cells is likely to produce a procoagulant state. Generation of one of the main physiological anticoagulant, activated protein C, is regulated by a system of receptors on the endothelial cells surface. Dr Englyst’s group have developed an endothelial cell culture based assay for measuring activated protein C generation. This system is currently being used to investigate the effects of a number of inflammatory molecules on anticoagulant generation, and to identify pharmacological interventions that protect against production of a procoagulant state. This knowledge is applicable to a variety of diseases, including deep vein thrombosis, sepsis, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Nicola enjoy scross-disciplinary collaborative research across different Faculties and the NHS, including with Dr Judith Holloway, Dr David Smith, Prof. John Holloway, Prof. James Wilkinson, Dr Phil Williamson, Dr Jane Lucas, Dr Jonathan West, Dr Jane Cleal, Prof. Rohan Lewis, Dr Michael Mahmoudi and Professor Nick Curzen.

PhD supervision

2011-2013 James Atherton PhD
2013-2016 Joshua Welsh PhD
2014-2019 Giedo Elamin PhD
2014-2018 Maaike Jongen PhD


Human Development and Health

Affiliate Department(s)

Human Development and Physiology

Postgraduate Director of Programmes

Chair of Faculty of Medicine Mentoring Scheme

Supervision of a number of PhD, MD, MSc, MMedSc, BMedSc and project students

Faculty of Medicine
  • Safety Representative for Endocrinology and Metabolism Unit (2001-2005)
  • Postdoctoral Association Representative (2004-current)
  • Mentoring Committee Member (2006-current)
  • Lead for Mentoring (2010-current)
  • Pastoral Tutor for MSc in Allergy and MSc in Public Health Nutrition (2011-2015)
  • BM5 steering groups and committees (2009-2015)
  • Postgraduate Taught Programmes steering groups and committees (2015-current)
  • Faculty Education Committee, Student Progress Committee (2015-current)
  • Staff-Student Liaison Committee chair, Postgraduate Taught Programmes Committee chair, Faculty Timetabling Owner,  (2018-current)
University of Southampton
  • Member of Senate (2005-2008)
  • Learning Spaces Committee (2019-current)
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  • Postgraduate Director of Programmes (2018-current)
  • Programme Leader for MSc Diabetes Best Practice (2015-current)
  • Development and running of Understanding Insulin MOOC (2015-current)
  • Endocrinology and Life Cycle Module Lead, BM5 (2009-2015)
  • Semester 4 Lead for BM5 (2011-2015)
  • Lecturing to BM and MSc students
  • MMedSc and BMedSc project supervision
  • PhD, MD and MSc project supervision
Dr Nicola Englyst
Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Institute of Developmental Sciences Building, Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD

Room Number: SGH/IDS

Telephone:(023) 8120 6925

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