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Yu-Ling Ma

BSc, MSc, PhD

Senior Research Scientist

Yu-ling ma is a senior scientist in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. She runs a newly established Chinses herbal medicine research laboratory to study the physiological/pharmacological mechanism of clinically effective antiarrhythmic herbal medicine using cellular electrophysiological method. Her research interest is not only in the active components of the herbal medicine under investigation, but also in the action mechanism of multi-herbal/component formulas. Using the concept of systems physiology/biology as guiding principles, she is broadening her research interests into studying the changes in genomics, protein-omics and metabolomics profiling induced by clinically effective multi-herbal medicine.      

Yuling graduated in biology from Peking University, Beijing China. Her interest in using pharmacological methods to study Chinese herbal medicine led her to a research position in the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences to investigate  the cardioprotective effects of herbal extracts using in vivo ischemia and in vitro cellular electrophysiology experimental models. In the early 1990s, she had the opportunity to work as a visiting scholar in the Department of Pharmacology, UMDS at St. Thomas’ Hospital, London, where under the supervision of Professor Alison Gurney, she studied the effects of herbal components on the electrophysiological properties of cardiac myocytes using patch clamp techniques. At the end of this research, supported by an ORS award and a K. C. Wong Scholarship, she was awarded a PhD by the University of London in 1995. She was then offered a Research Fellow position in Imperial College to work on a pharmaceutical project to study the antidotal effect of alpha-1-acid glycoprotein on antidepressant induced sodium channel blockade. This project was led by the late Professor John Henry.

Yuling joined the Department at Oxford in 2008 to work in Professor Richard Vaughan-Jones’ research group, and later in Professor Clive Ellory’s group.

Apart from working in the field of cardiac cellular electrophysiology, Yuling also worked in the field of neuron electrophysiology to study the effect of phytocannabinoids on cerebellum brain slices, using single and multi-cellular electrophysiology techniques at the University of Reading. 

Yuling has recently taken up a research project to study an antiarrhythmic multi-herbal Chinese medicine using cellular electrophysiological methods; this project is sponsored by Shaanxi Momentum Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., China

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Recent Publications

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Yu-ling Ma, Penelope J. Noble, Soojin Lee, Robert Wilkins, Clive Ellory and Denis Noble (2013) Pharmacological studies of Mudanpi and its main active component on cardiac ischemia and ion channels (Presented at the IUPS 2013 conference, 2013 Birmingham UK) P259,

C. D. Garciarena, Y.-L. Ma, P. Swietach, L. Huc & R. D. Vaughan-Jones (2013).Sarcolemmal localisation of Na+/H+ exchange and Na+-HCO3- co-transport influences the spatial regulation of intracellular pH in rat ventricular myocytes. Journal of Physiology 591(9): 2287-­2306

Y.-L. Ma, D. A. Rees, J. S.Gibson & J. C. Ellory (2012). The conductance of red blood cells from sickle cell patients: ion selectivity and inhibitors. Journal of Physiology. 590(9): 2095-2105

Yu-ling Ma, Samantha E. Weston, Ben J. Whalley and Gary J. Stephens (2008). The phytocannabinoid A9-tetrahydrocannabivarin modulates inhibitory neurotransmission in the Cerebellum British J Pharmacology: 154: 216-225

Yu-ling Ma, Susan Bates & Alison Gurney (2006). The effects of paeonol on the electrophysiological properties of cardiac ventricular myocytes. European Journal of Pharmacology. 545: 87-92

Yu-ling Ma, Nicholas S Peters & John A Henry (2006). α1 -Acid glycoprotein reverses cocaine-induced sodium channel blockade in cardiac myocytes. Toxicology 220: 46-50

Oleg Tolmachov, Yu-Ling Ma, Michael Themis, Pravina Patel, Hilmar Spohr, Yvonne Kienast1, Charles Coutelle1, Nicholas S Peters (2006). Connexin43 Transduction of Skeletal Myoblasts Improves Their Electrical Coupling with Cardiac Myocytes. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders. 6:25 (

Ma, Y., Tolmachov, O., Themis, M., Hilmar, S., Kienast, Y., Coutelle C., Peters N (2003). Functional coupling of Cx43 transduced skeletal myoblasts with cardiac myocytes in coculture. Circulation 108 (17): 1392

Yu-ling Ma & John A Henry (2001) The antidotal effect of alpha-1-acid glycoprotein on amitriptyline toxicity in cardiac myocytes. Toxicology  169: 133-144