Senior Research Fellow

+44 (0)131 451 4561
Room 3.18.2
William Perkin Building
Heriot-Watt University
Roles and responsibilities

Dr David Brown is responsible for:

Research involving the role of nanoparticles in disease processes.

Supervision of undergraduate, and postgraduate student projects.


David's research interests include:

The role of oxidative stress in nanoparticle/cell interactions.

The role of calcium as a signalling molecule.

The effects of particulate air pollution in the lung.

Selected publications

Brown DM, Donaldson K, Stone V. Nuclear translocation of Nrf2 and expression of antioxidant defence genes in THP-1 cells exposed to carbon nanotubes. J. Biomed. Nanotech 2010 6: 1-10.

Brown DM, Dickson C, Duncan P, Al-Attili F Stone V. Interaction between nanoparticles and cytokine proteins: impact on protein and particle functionality. Nanotoxicology 2010 21: 215104.

Rothen-Rutishauser B, Brown DM, Piallier-Boyles M, Kinloch IA, Windle AH, Gehr P, Stone V. Relating the physiochemical characteristics and dispersion of multiwalled carbon nanotubes to their oxidative reactivity in vitro and inflammation in vitro. Nanotoxicology. 2010 4(3):331-42.

Johnston HJ, Semmler-Behnke M, Brown DM, Kreyling W, Tran L, Stone V. Evaluating the uptake and intracellular fate of polystyrene nanoparticles by primary and hepatocyte cell lines in vitro. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2010 242(1):66-78.

Foucaud L, Goulaouic S, Bennasroune A, Laval-Gilly P, Brown DM, Stone V, Falla J. Oxidative stress induction by nanoparticles in THP-1 cells with 4-HNE production: Stress biomarker or oxidative stress signalling molecule? Toxicology in vitro 2010 24(6):1512-20.

Clift MD, Sourav Bhattacharjee, David M. Brown, Vicki Stone. The effects of serum on the toxicity of manufactured nanoparticles. Toxicology Letters 198 (2010) 358–365.

Clift MJ, Boyles MS, Brown DM, Stone V. An investigation into the potential for different surface-coated quantum dots to cause oxidative stress and affect macrophage cell signalling in vitro. Nanotoxicology. 2010 4:139-49.


David's career began in the early 1970s at the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM), at that time run by the National coal Board. The Institute conducted research into the health and diseases of miners exposed to coal dust during their working career. This research led to further studies involving workers exposed to asbestos fibres and into cell based studies where attempts were made to understand the effects of man-made mineral fibres in the lung.

David moved to the IOM unit at the City Hospital where this work was continued until the mid 1990s. 

He then moved to Napier University in 1995 to study the effects of various nanoparticles in the respiratory system under the directorship of Professor Ken Donaldson. During his time at Napier University, he developed various in vitro models to investigate the cellular effects of nanoparticles exposure in different organ systems in the body. David has recently relocated to Heriot-Watt University where this work is continuing.

Further information

David is a Fellow of the Society of Biology and a regular reviewer for various toxicology based journals.