Dr Neil Pickles

Deputy Head of Biological Sciences and Senior lecturer

I am a former student of the department, having read for a BSc in Biology. During my degree I was awarded the Society of Biology Bioscience student of the year award. This was then followed by a PhD in Biochemistry of Carbohydrates, also in the department under the supervision of Professor John Williams. During my PhD research, I won the IFST research student of the year award. I am passionate about providing a good student experience and remaining research active.




Following a postgraduate scholarship at the University of California, Riverside (USA) investigating the biochemistry of arabinogalactans, I returned to the UK to take up a post as lecturer in Biochemistry and nutrition at Manchester Metropolitan University. I was pleased to be able to return to department, where I am currently a senior lecturer and programme leader for BSc Biology. I have a postgraduate teaching qualification (PGCAP) and I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).


I teach across all undergraduate and postgraduate levels and on a wide variety of modules. Areas of teaching involve mainly biochemistry, data handling and research methods. I am module leader at level 5 for Research Methods (BI5110), Biology of Disease (BI5111) and Applied Clinical Skills for Biomedical Sciences (BI5127).  I am also module leader for two modules on MSc Biomedical Science course: Analytical Techniques in Biomedical Sciences (BI7104) and Clinical Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis (BI7107). I am a keen advocate of using technology in teaching, for example: embedded videos, voting software and the use of twitter as a pedagogical tool.


I am research active and supervise BSc, MSc and PhD research projects. My fascination that developed during my PhD with carbohydrates continues, but my research interests are quite diverse. They include:

  • Biochemistry of complex carbohydrates -  structural analysis, differentiation and effect on the immune system
  • Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) development and analysis
  • Measurement of bio-molecular interactions using surface plasmon resonance, for example binding of heat shock proteins and their inhibitors
  • Microbiology – adaptive resistance and quorum sensing

I have presented research at numerous international conferences and have published research papers, particularly in the areas of carbohydrate biochemistry and ELISA development. Although I am often very busy teaching and mostly supervise research, you will often find me sneaking into the research laboratories to do some experiments.

Published work

Morgan, A. E., Mooney, K. M., Wilkinson, S. J., Pickles, N. A., & McAuley, M. T. (2016). Cholesterol metabolism: A review of how ageing disrupts the biological mechanisms responsible for its regulation. Ageing Research Reviews, 27, 108-124 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2016.03.008 

Morgan, A, E., Mooney, K. M., Wilkinson, S. J., Pickles, N. A., & McAuley, M. T. (2016). Investigating Cholesterol Metabolism and Ageing Using a Systems Biology Approach, Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, accepted (in press) 

Morgan, A, E., Mooney, K. M., Wilkinson, S. J., Pickles, N. A., & McAuley, M. T. (2016). Mathematically Modelling the Dynamics of Cholesterol Metabolism and Ageing, Biosystems, 145, 19-32

Hurley, I. P., Pickles, N. A. et al (2010) Detection of Konjac glucomannan by immunoassay. International journal of food science and technology, 45, 1410-1416 LINK

Hurley, I. P., Pickles, N. A. et al (2009) Detection of human blood by immunoassay for applications in forensic analysis. Forensic Science International, 190, 191-197LINK

Pickles, N. A., et al (2007). Characterisation and properties of Acacia senegal (L.) Willd. var, senegal with enhanced properties (Acacia (sen) SUPER GUM(TM)): Part 3 Immunological characterisation of Acacia (sen) SUPER GUM(TM). Food Hydrocolloids, 21(3), 338-346. LINK

Pickles, N. A., et al (2006). Immunological approaches to gum arabic characterisation. Food and Food Ingredients Journal of Japan 211(1): 48-54.

Pickles, N. A. (2006). Know your food additives: characterisation of hydrocolloids. Journal of the Institute of Food Science and Technology 20(1): 10-11.