Professor Francesco (Frank) Michelangeli

Sumner Professor of Biochemistry

I am a biochemist by training and have been involved in teaching undergraduates and postgraduates for more than 25 years. My areas of expertise are bio-membranes, cell signalling and enzymology.  I am currently investigating the effects of pharmaceutical drugs and environmental pollutants on Ca2+ transport proteins. I am actively involved with the Biochemical Society and the Royal Society of Biology. I am also on the education committees of the Federation of European Biochemical societies (FEBS). 


I was recently appointed Sumner Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Chester. Prior to this, for 25 years I was a senior lecturer and Head of Biochemistry programmes at University of Birmingham. I teach a wide range of biochemistry and cell biology related topics in the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, with specialist interests in membrane biochemistry, cell signalling and molecular toxicology.  


Biochemical characterisation of ER Ca2+ Channels & Pumps

Currently, my work has been focusing on links between aberrations in Ca2+ signalling pathways (caused by diseases or toxic insults) and induction of cell death. This work has used a variety of cells derived from neuronal, cardiovascular and testicular sources. My more recent work has involved investigating the molecular basis of toxicity of environmental pollutants and how they can affect male fertility and neuronal function. As an extension to this work, in collaboration with others I am also investigating the role of Ca2+ transporters in sperm viability and motility. Another current area of research is an investigation of the Golgi-specific Ca2+ pump (SPCA) and its modulation by novel regulatory proteins.

Professor Francesco Michelangeli - Research Project Professor Francesco Michelangeli - Research Project

Other areas of interest include:

  • Kinetics, pharmacology and regulation of intracellular Ca2+ channels such as the InsP3 receptor and Ryanodine receptor.
  • Kinetics, pharmacology and regulation of Ca2+ ATPases.
  • Drug-membrane interactions.
  • Development of fluorescence-based assays 

Other activities

  • I regularly referee grant applications in the area of calcium homeostasis for possible funding by the research councils and medical charities.
  • I have served as an editorial advisor for the Biochemical Journal (1992-1995) and as an editorial board member from 1995-2002. I am currently on the editorial boards of Bioscience Reports, Biochemical Society Transactions and The Open Journal of Enzyme Inhibition.
  • I was on the executive committee and council of the Biochemical Society and its Honorary Membership Secretary until end 2013.
  • I am a Pharmacology adviser / expert to the Pakistan High Commission for Education, were I have assessed promotions to chairs in several universities in Pakistan.

Published work

  • A Diversity of SERCA Ca2+ pump Inhibitors, F. Michelangeli & J.M. East (2011)  Biochemical Society Transactions 39; 789-797.
  • Regucalcin / Senescence marker protein 30 (RGN/SMP30) alters agonist- and thapsigargin-induced cytosolic [Ca2+] transients in cells by increasing SERCA Ca2+ATPase levels, P. Lai & F. Michelangeli (2011) FEBS Letts  585; 2291-2294.
  • Some commonly used brominated flame retardants cause Ca2+-ATPase inhibition, beta-amyloid peptide release and apoptosis in SH-SY5Y neuronal cells, F. Al-Mousa & F. Michelangeli (2012) PLOS One 7; e33059,   1-8
  • Bis(2-hydroxy-3-tert-butyl-5-methyl-phenyl)-methane (bis-phenol) is a potent and selective inhibitor of the secretory pathway Ca2+ ATPase (SPCA1), P. Lai & F. Michelangeli (2012) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 424; 616-619.
  • Ca2+ signalling through CatSper and Ca2+ stores generates functional diversity in human sperm behavior, S. Costello, W. Alasari, J. Correia, S.K. Oxenham, L. Fernandes, J. Kirkman-Brown, F. Michelangeli, C. Barratt & S. Publicover, J. Biol Chem. (2013) 288; 6248-6258.
  • Saikosaponin-d, a novel SERCA inhibitor induces autophagic cell death in apoptosis-defective cells, VKW Wong, T Li, BYK Law, EDL Ma, NC Yip, F Michelangeli, CKM Law, MM Zhang, KYC Lam, PL Chan, & L Liu, Cell Death & Disease (2013) 4; e720, doi 10.1038/cddis.2013.217
  • An investigation into the toxicity and genotoxicity of brominated flame retardants in SHSY-5Y cells, J. Sostare, F. Michelangeli, & N. Hodges. Toxicology Letters 221 (2013): 140-S141.
  • The sarcoplamsic-endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA) is the likely molecular target for the acute toxicity of the brominated flame retardant, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), F. Al-Mousa & F. Michelangeli, Chemico-Biological Interactions (2014) 207; 1-6
  • Related flavonoids cause Cooperative inhibition of the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ATPase by multimode mechanisms, O.A. Ogunbayo & F. Michelangeli, FEBS Journal (2014) 281; 766-777
  • A systems biology approach reveals a novel calcium-dependent mechanism for basal toxicity in Daphnia magna, P. Antczak, T. White, A.  Giri, A, F. Michelangeli, M. Viant, M. Cronin, C. Vulpe & F. Falciani, Environmental Science & Technology (2015) 49, 11132-11140
  • Sarco(endo)plasmic reticulum  Ca2+ ATPase is a molecular partner of Wolfram syndrome 1(WFS1) protein , which negatively regulates its expression, M. Zatyka, G. Da Silva-Xavier, E. Bellomo, W. Leadbetter, D. Astuti,  J. Smith, F. Michelangeli, G. Rutter & T. Barrett. Human Molecular Genetics (2015) 24; 814-827.
  • Regulation and roles of Ca2+ stores in human sperm. J.Correra, F. Michelangeli, S. Publicover Reproduction  (2015) 150; R65-R76


  • Recent Advances in Membrane Biochemistry, J.M. East & F. Michelangeli (eds) (2011), ISBN 9781855781832.