Dr Ewan Smith

Ewan Smith

University position

Senior Lecturer

Dr Ewan Smith is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Department of Pharmacology

Home page


Research Themes

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Systems and Computational Neuroscience


The main interest of the Smith lab is to understand the molecular mechanisms by which sensory neurones detect noxious stimuli, so-called nociceptors. We are particularly interested in how acid activates nociceptors in both physiological and pathophysiological states.

A further area of interest in the Smith lab is the unusual physiology of the naked mole-rat, an animal that is cold-blooded, lives for 30+ years, is resistant to cancer and is also eusocial! We aim to conduct comparative physiology and genetics with the naked mole-rat in order to identify molecules and circuits that underlie aspects of their “odd” physiology, results from such work will lead to a greater understanding of how “normal” physiology works in other mammals including humans.

Research Focus



ion channels




Clinical conditions



Behavioural analysis

Confocal microscopy

Electrophysiological recording techniques

Fluorescence microscopy



Whole cell patch clamp



David Bulmer

Frances Henson

Tony Jackson

Deepak Jadon

Walid Khaled

Taufiq Rahman

United Kingdom

Daniel Frankel Web: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/ceam/st...

Kenny Rankin Web: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/medical...

Associated News Items



Hockley JRF, Taylor TS, Callejo G, Wilbrey AL, Gutterridge A, Bach K, Winchester WJ, Bulmer DC, McMurray G, and Smith ES (2019), “Single-cell RNAseq reveals seven classes of colonic sensory neuron. ” Gut 68: 633-644

Kulaberoglu Y, Bhushan B, Hadi F, Chakrabarti S, Khaled WT, Rankin K, Smith ES and Frankel D (2019), “The material properties of naked mole-rat hyaluronan” Scientific Reports 9: 6632


Bautzova T, Hockley JR, Perez-Berezo T, Pujo J, Tranter MM, Desormeaux C, Barbaro MR, Basso L, Le Faouder P, Rolland C, Malapert P, Moqrich A, Eutamene H, Denadi-Souza A, Vergnolle N, Smith ES, Hughes DI, Barabara G, Dietrich G, Bulmer DC and Cenac N (2018), “5-oxoETE triggers nociception in constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome through MAS-related G protein coupled receptor D” Science Signalling 11: eaal2171

Chakrabarti S, Pattison LA, Singhal K, Hockley JRF, Callejo G and Smith ES (2018), “Acute inflammation sensitizes knee-innervating sensory neurons and decreases mouse digging behavior in a TRPV1-dependent manner. ” Neuropharmacology 143: 49-62

Hockley, JRF, Smith, ES and Bulmer, DC (2018), “Human visceral nociception: findings from translational studies in human tissue. ” Am J Physiol Gastro Liv Physiol G464-G472

Husson Z and Smith ES (2018), “Naked mole-rat cortical neurons are resistant to acid-induced cell death. ” Molecular Brain 11: 26

Schuhmacher, LN, Callejo, G, Srivats, S and Smith, ES (2018), “Naked mole-rat acid-sensing ion channel 3 forms nonfunctional homomers, but functional heteromers. ” J Biol Chem 293: 1756-66

Wright AJ, Husson ZM, Hu DE, Callejo G, Brindle KM and Smith E S (2018), “Increased hyperpolarized [1-13C]lactate production in a model of joint inflammation is not accompanied by tissue acidosis as assessed using hyperpolarized 13C-labeled bicarbonate. ” NMR Biomedicine e3892


Park TJ, Reznick J, Peterson BL, Blass G, Omerbašić D, Bennett NC, Kuich PHJL, Zasada C, Browe BM, Hamann W, Applegate DT, Radke MH, Kosten T, Lutermann H, Gavaghan V, Eigenbrod O, Bégay V, Amoroso VG, Govind V, Minshall RD, Smith ESJ, Larson J, Gotthardt M, Kempa S, and Lewin GR (2017), “Fructose-driven glycolysis supports anoxia resistance in the naked mole-rat.” Science 356: 307-311

Peiris M, Hockley JR, Reed DE, Smith ESJ, Bulmer DC, Blackshaw LA. (2017), “Peripheral KV7 channels regulate visceral sensory function in mouse and human colon.” Molecular Pain 13:1744806917709371

Prato V, Taberner FJ, Hockley JRF, Callejo G, Arcourt A, Tazir B, Hammer L, Schad P, Heppenstall PA, Smith ES and Lechner, S.G. (2017), “Functional and molecular characterization of mechanoinsensitive "silent" nociceptors.” Cell Reports 21: 3102-3115

Wetzel C, Pifferi S, Picci C, Gök C, Hoffmann D, Bali KK, Lampe A, Lapatsina L, Fleischer R, Smith ES, Bégay V, Moroni M, Estebanez L, Kühnemund J, Walcher J, Specker E, Neuenschwander M, von Kries JP, Haucke V, Kuner R, Poulet JF, Schmoranzer J, Poole K, Lewin GR. (2017), “Small-molecule inhibition of STOML3 oligomerization reverses pathological mechanical hypersensitivity.” Nature Neuroscience 20:209-218


da Silva Serra I, Husson Z, Bartlett JD, Smith ES (2016), “Characterization of cutaneous and articular sensory neurons” Molecular Pain 12: 1-14

Mason MJ, Cornwall HL and Smith ES (2016), “Ear Structures of the Naked Mole-Rat, Heterocephalus glaber, and Its Relatives (Rodentia: Bathyergidae)” PLoS One 11: e0167079

Omerbašić D, Smith ES, Moroni M, Homfeld J, Eigenbrod O, Bennett NC, Reznick J, Faulkes CG, Selbach M, Lewin GR. (2016), “Hypofunctional TrkA Accounts for the Absence of Pain Sensitization in the African Naked Mole-Rat.” Cell Reports 17: 748-758

Schuhmacher LN and Smith ES (2016), “Expression of acid-sensing ion channels and selection of reference genes in mouse and naked mole rat” Molecular Brain 9: 97


Jeggle P, Smith ES, Stewart AP, Haerteis S, Korbmacher C, Edwardson JM (2015), “Atomic force microscopy imaging reveals the formation of ASIC/ENaC cross-clade ion channels.” Biochem Biophys Res Commun 464(1):38-44 Details

Omerbašić D, Schuhmacher LN, Bernal Sierra YA, Smith ES, Lewin GR (2015), “ASICs and mammalian mechanoreceptor function.” Neuropharmacology 94:80-86 Details

Schuhmacher LN, Srivats S, Smith ES (2015), “Structural domains underlying the activation of Acid-sensing ion channel 2a.” Mol Pharmacol 87(4):561-71 Details

Schuhmacher, L. N., Husson, Z. and Smith, E. S (2015), “The naked mole-rat as an animal model in biomedical research: current perspectives. ” Open Access Animal Physiology 137-148


Kozlenkov A, Lapatsina L, Lewin GR, Smith ES (2014), “Subunit-specific inhibition of acid sensing ion channels by stomatin-like protein 1.” J Physiol 592(Pt 4):557-69 Details

Lewin GR, Lechner SG, Smith ES (2014), “Nerve growth factor and nociception: from experimental embryology to new analgesic therapy.” Handb Exp Pharmacol 220:251-82 Details

Rahman T, Smith ES (2014), “In silico assessment of interaction of sea anemone toxin APETx2 and acid sensing ion channel 3.” Biochem Biophys Res Commun 450(1):384-9 Details


Smith ES, Martinez-Velazquez L, Ringstad N (2013), “A chemoreceptor that detects molecular carbon dioxide.” J Biol Chem 288(52):37071-81 Details


Brand J, Smith ES, Schwefel D, Lapatsina L, Poole K, Omerbašić D, Kozlenkov A, Behlke J, Lewin GR, Daumke O (2012), “A stomatin dimer modulates the activity of acid-sensing ion channels.” EMBO J 31(17):3635-46 Details

Lapatsina L, Jira JA, Smith ES, Poole K, Kozlenkov A, Bilbao D, Lewin GR, Heppenstall PA (2012), “Regulation of ASIC channels by a stomatin/STOML3 complex located in a mobile vesicle pool in sensory neurons.” Open Biol 2(6):120096 Details

St John Smith E, Purfürst B, Grigoryan T, Park TJ, Bennett NC, Lewin GR (2012), “Specific paucity of unmyelinated C-fibers in cutaneous peripheral nerves of the African naked-mole rat: comparative analysis using six species of Bathyergidae.” J Comp Neurol 520(12):2785-803 Details

Stock K, Kumar J, Synowitz M, Petrosino S, Imperatore R, Smith ES, Wend P, Purfürst B, Nuber UA, Gurok U, Matyash V, Wälzlein JH, Chirasani SR, Dittmar G, Cravatt BF, Momma S, Lewin GR, Ligresti A, De Petrocellis L, Cristino L, Di Marzo V, Kettenmann H, Glass R (2012), “Neural precursor cells induce cell death of high-grade astrocytomas through stimulation of TRPV1.” Nat Med Details


Lechner SG, Markworth S, Poole K, Smith ES, Lapatsina L, Frahm S, May M, Pischke S, Suzuki M, Ibañez-Tallon I, Luft FC, Jordan J, Lewin GR (2011), “The molecular and cellular identity of peripheral osmoreceptors.” Neuron 69(2):332-44 Details

Smith ES, Omerbašić D, Lechner SG, Anirudhan G, Lapatsina L, Lewin GR (2011), “The molecular basis of acid insensitivity in the African naked mole-rat.” Science 334(6062):1557-60 Details


Brand A, Smith ES, Lewin GR, Park TJ (2010), “Functional neurokinin and NMDA receptor activity in an animal naturally lacking substance P: the naked mole-rat.” PLoS One 5(12):e15162 Details

Smith ES, Blass GR, Lewin GR, Park TJ (2010), “Absence of histamine-induced itch in the African naked mole-rat and "rescue" by Substance P.” Mol Pain 6:29 Details

Stürzebecher AS, Hu J, Smith ES, Frahm S, Santos-Torres J, Kampfrath B, Auer S, Lewin GR, Ibañez-Tallon I (2010), “An in vivo tethered toxin approach for the cell-autonomous inactivation of voltage-gated sodium channel currents in nociceptors.” J Physiol 588(Pt 10):1695-707 Details


Smith ES, Lewin GR (2009), “Nociceptors: a phylogenetic view.” J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol 195(12):1089-106 Details


Park TJ, Lu Y, Jüttner R, Smith ES, Hu J, Brand A, Wetzel C, Milenkovic N, Erdmann B, Heppenstall PA, Laurito CE, Wilson SP, Lewin GR (2008), “Selective inflammatory pain insensitivity in the African naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber).” PLoS Biol 6(1):e13 Details

Smith ES, Momin A (2008), “Persistent pain: the contribution of Na(V)1.9.” J Physiol 586(9):2249-50 Details


Cadiou H, Studer M, Jones NG, Smith ES, Ballard A, McMahon SB, McNaughton PA (2007), “Modulation of acid-sensing ion channel activity by nitric oxide.” J Neurosci 27(48):13251-60 Details

Smith ES, Cadiou H, McNaughton PA (2007), “Arachidonic acid potentiates acid-sensing ion channels in rat sensory neurons by a direct action.” Neuroscience 145(2):686-98 Details

Smith ES, Zhang X, Cadiou H, McNaughton PA (2007), “Proton binding sites involved in the activation of acid-sensing ion channel ASIC2a.” Neurosci Lett 426(1):12-7 Details