Dr Rebecca CapelBack to People

Department: Cardiac Signalling, Department of Pharmacology
Academic position: Lecturer in Pharmacology at Magdalen College, Junior Research Fellow at Campion Hall, Post-Doctoral Research Scientist, Burton Group, Department of Pharmacology


I studied Physiological Sciences at Pembroke College, Oxford, specialising in Myocardial, Vascular and Respiratory Biology and Neuroscience. This was followed by a DPhil (Balliol College) with Professor Derek Terrar in the Department of Pharmacology, studying pacemaker cell physiology and the role of NAADP in the heart. I spent two years working as a post-doctoral scientist with Dr Ming Lei, researching the role of Pak1 in cardiac pacemaker and atrial tissue as well as setting up new techniques for investigating this signalling pathway in his group. As of January 2016 I am a post-doctoral research scientist working with Dr Rebecca Burton, funded by her Wellcome Trust and Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellowship. We are studying atrial calcium handling in health and disease.


Physiology and Pharmacology to first year Medicine. General Pharmacology to second year Biomedical Sciences.

Research Interests:

My research focusses on the control of calcium and electrical activity in cells of the heart. I am particularly interested in studying how calcium originating in lysosomes, which have traditionally been thought of as waste disposal units, contributes to acute and chronic signalling in health and disease. To do this I use a range of techniques including measuring the electrical and calcium activity from individual heart cells in real time, imaging the substructure of cardiac cells and assessing the proteome of tissue from healthy and diseased patients. The Burton Group, in which I am a post-doctoral researcher, aims to link together structural, signalling and patient information to improve our understanding of, and treatment options for, heart disease with a particular focus on the atria and sino-atrial node.


Teh, I, Burton, RAB, McClymont, D, Capel, RA et al. Mapping Cardiac Microstructure of Rabbit Heart in Different Mechanical States by High Resolution Diffusion Tensor Imaging. Prog Biophys Mol Biol 2016; 121: 85-96

Capel RA, Bolton EL, Lin WK et al. Two pore channels (TPC2s) and nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NAADP) at lysosomal-sarcoplasmic reticular junctions contribute to acute and chronic β-adrenoceptor signaling in the heart. J Biol Chem 2015; 290: 30087 – 30098

Capel RA, Herring N, Bub G, Paterson D, Terrar D, Burton RAB. Hydroxychloroquine reduces heart rate by modulating the hyperpolarisation-activated current ‘If’: Novel electrophysiological insights and therapeutic potential. Heart Rhythm 2015; 12(10): 2186-94. * Related Press Release: http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2015-05-21-1950s-drug-future-heart-treatment

Capel R and Terrar D. The importance of Ca2+-dependent mechanisms for the initiation of the heartbeat. Front Physiol 2015: 6:80.

Capel R and Terrar D. Cytosolic calcium ions exert a major influence on the firing rate and maintenance of pacemaker activity in guinea-pig sinus node. Front Physiol 2015; 6:23.

Collins TP, Bayliss R, Churchill GC, Galione A, Terrar DA. NAADP influences excitation-contraction coupling by releasing calcium from lysosomes in atrial myocytes Cell Calcium. 2011; 50: 449-458.

Quinn TA, Bayliss RA, Kohl P. Mechano-Electric Feedback in the Heart: Effects on Heart Rate and Rhythm. In Tripathi, Ravens and Sanguinetti (eds) Heart Rate and Rhythm. Springer 2010.

Pandit JJ, Winter V, Bayliss R, and Buckler KJ. Differential effects of halothane and isoflurane on carotid body glomus cell intracellular Ca(2+) and background K(+) channel responses to hypoxia. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2010; 669: 205.

Wen Q, Gandhi K, Capel R, et al., Transverse cardiac slicing and optical imaging for analysis of transmural gradients in membrane potential and calcium transients in murine heart. J Physiol 2018; 596: 3951-3965

Peyronnet R*, Bollensdorff C*, Capel RA* et al., Load-dependent effects of apelin on murine cardiomyocytes. Prog    Biophys Mol Biol 2017; 130; 333-343

* Joint first authors

Aston, D*, Capel, RA*, Ford, KL, et al., High resolution structural evidence suggests the sarcoplasmic reticulum forms microdomains with acidic stores (lysosomes) in the heart. Scientific Reports 2017; 7: 40620

* Joint first authors