Professor Gavin Woodhall

Professor in Neuropharmacology

School of Life and Health Sciences
Aston University
Aston Triangle
Birmingham B4 7ET

email: g.l.woodhall@aston.ac.uk
telephone: +44 (0) 121 204 3995

Gavin Woodhall
Gavin Woodhall

Research Group

Molecular Biomedical Research

Research Centre

Aston Brain Centre

 Aston Research centre in CHildren and Young people's health(ARCHY)

Member of the Pharmacy and Biology Teaching Programmes
PG Programme Director - MSc Pharmacology 

Teaching Activity on the MPharm Programme

PH2501: Antidysrhythmic drugs.
PH3601: Glutamate, drug abuse, epilepsy, general aAnaesthetics, learning and memory, excitotoxicity.
PH4705: Neuronal networks.

Career History

  • 1998–2002 Post-doctoral researcher, University of Bristol.
  • 1995–1998 Postdoctoral fellow University of Montreal, Canada.
  • 1994–1995 Postdoctoral Fellow University of Southampton.
  • 1991–1994 PhD University of Southampton  

Research Interests 

Electrophysiological studies on neurones of the entorhinal cortex (EC).

The role of presynaptic metabotropic glutamate and NMDA receptors in epilepsy in the EC

The role of cannabinoids in the EC

The role of primary motor cortex in epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease (in collaboration with Dr. Ian Stanford and Dr. Stephen Hall).

The EC is part of the temporal lobe, a brain region which is especially prone to epilepsy. My research focuses on how epilepsy leads to changes the presynaptic control of neurotransmitter release onto neurones in the deep and superficial layers of the EC, and on the relationship between control of action potential evoked and action potential independent release of glutamate and GABA. I am also interested in the role of presynaptic CB1 cannabinoid receptors in control of GABA release in the normal and chronically epileptic EC. I am currently setting up a human tissue laboratory to investigate these questions in human brain slices.

I am also interested in primary motor cortex (M1), and am currently investigating neuronal network oscillations in this area, with a view to understanding how activity in M1 is altered through synaptic plasticity in epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. These experiments are complemented by investigations in man via MEG studies (Steve Hall).

Research Collaborations

Dr. Roland Jones (University of Bath)
Prof. Miles Whittington (University of Newcastle) 

Current Funding 

Wellcome Trust



Glutamate Induced Glutamate release in medial entorhinal cortex

Royal Society



Synaptogenesis following epileptogenesis in the rat medial temporal lobe

Wellcome Trust



Chronic changes in presynaptic function following epileptogenesis in the rat medial temporal lobe




Development of a reduced severity epilepsy model in the rat




Effects of Zolpidem and other ligands on spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents and intenruonal oscillatory activity




MEG analysis of the cognitive effects of zolpidem

Recent Publications

  • Lacey MG, Gooding-Williams G, Prokic EJ, Yamawaki N, Hall SD, Stanford IM, and Woodhall GL (2014).
    Spike firing and IPSPs in layer V pyramidal neurons during beta oscillations in rat primary motor cortex (M1) in vitro.
    PLOS ONE (in press)

  • Greenhill SD, Chamberlain SEL, Lench A, Massey PV, Yuill, KY,  Woodhall GL, Jones RSG. (2014)
    Background synaptic activity in rat entorhinal cortex shows a progressively greater dominance of inhibition over excitation from deep to superficial layers.
    PLoS ONE (in press)

  • Hall S.D., Yamawaki N., Clauss R., Fischer A., Woodhall G.L., Stanford I.M. (2009) Desynchronization of pathological low frequency brain activity by the hypnotic drug zolpidem. Brain (submitted)* 

  • Sims R.E.., Woodhall G.L., Wilson C.L., Stanford I.M. (2008)
    Functional characterization of GABAergic pallido-pallidal and striato-pallidal synapses in the rat globus pallidus in vitro. 
    Eur. J. Neurosci. (in press).*

  •  Morgan N., Stanford I.M., Woodhall G.L. (2008)
    Modulation of network oscillatory activity and GABAergic synaptic transmission by CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the rat medial entorhinal cortex.
    Neural Plasticity (in press)

  •  Loucif, A.J.C., Woodhall G.L, Sehirli U.S., Stanford I.M. (2008)
    Depolarisation and suppression of burst firing in the mouse subthalamic nucleus by dopamine D1-like receptor activation of a cyclic nucleotide gated non-specific cation conductance. 
    Neuropharm. 55, 94-105.

  • Yang J, Woodhall GL, Jones RS. (2008)
    Evidence for mobile presynaptic NMDA receptors at cortical synapses.
    J Physiol. (586(Pt 20):4905-24)  

  • Yamawaki N, Hall, SD, Stanford IM & Woodhall GL (2008)
    Pharmacologically induced and stimulus evoked neuronal oscillatory activity in the primary motor cortex in vitro.
    Neuroscience 151(2):386-95

  • Woodhall GL, Ayman G, Jones RSG. (2007)
    Differential control of two forms of glutamate release by group III metabotropic glutamate receptors at rat entorhinal synapses
    Neuroscience 148 (1) 7-21

  • Thompson SE, Ayman G, Woodhall GL, Jones RSG (2006)
    Depression of glutamate and GABA release by Presynaptic GABA(B) receptors in the entorhinal cortex in normal and chronically epileptic rats.
    Neurosignals 15 (4) 202-215

  • Yang J, Woodhall GL, Jones RS. (2006)
    Tonic facilitation of glutamate release by presynaptic NR2B-containing NMDA receptors is increased in the entorhinal cortex of chronically epileptic rats.
    Journal of Neuroscience. 26(2):406-10.

  • Woodhall GL, Bailey SJ, Thompson SE, Evans DI, Jones RS. (2005)
    Fundamental differences in spontaneous synaptic inhibition between deep and superficial layers of the rat entorhinal cortex.
    Hippocampus. 15(2):232-45.

  • Jones RS, Woodhall GL. (2005)
    Background synaptic activity in rat entorhinal cortical neurones: differential control of transmitter release by presynaptic receptors.
    Journal of Physiology. 562(Pt 1):107-20.

  • Cunningham, MO, Woodhall, GL, Thompson, SE, Dooley, DJ and Jones, RSG (2004)
    Dual effects of gabapentin and pregabalin on glutamate release at rat entorhinal synapses in vitro
    European Journal of Neuroscience 20 1566-1576.

  • Bailey SJ, Dhillon A, Woodhall GL, Jones RS. (2004)
    Lamina-specific differences in GABA(B) autoreceptor-mediated regulation of spontaneous GABA release in rat entorhinal cortex
    Neuropharmacology. 46(1):31-42.

  • Cunningham MO, Woodhall GL, Jones RS. (2003)
    Valproate modifies spontaneous excitation and inhibition at cortical synapses in vitro
    Neuropharmacology. 45 (7):907-17.

  • Stacey AE, Woodhall GL, Jones RS. (2002)
    Neurokinin-receptor-mediated depolarization of cortical neurons elicits an increase in glutamate release at excitatory synapses.
    European Journal of Neuroscience. 16(10):1896-906.

  • Stacey AE, Woodhall GL, Jones RS. (2002)
    Activation of neurokinin-1 receptors promotes GABA release at synapses in the rat entorhinal cortex.
    Neuroscience. 115(2):575-86.

  • Woodhall GL, Evans DI, Cunningham MO, Jones RS. (2001)
    NR2B-containing NMDA autoreceptors at synapses on entorhinal cortical neurons.
    Journal of Neurophysiology. 86(4):1644-51.

  • Woodhall GL, Evans DI, Jones RS. (2001)
    Activation of presynaptic group III metabotropic glutamate receptors depresses spontaneous inhibition in layer V of the rat entorhinal cortex.
    Neuroscience. 105(1):71-8.

  • Gee CE, Woodhall GL, Lacaille JC. (2001)
    Synaptically activated calcium responses in dendrites of hippocampal oriens-alveus interneurons.
    Journal of Neurophysiology 85(4):1603-13.

  • Evans DI, Jones RS, Woodhall GL. (2001)
    Differential actions of PKA and PKC in the regulation of glutamate release by group III mGluRs in the entorhinal cortex.
    Journal of Neurophysiology. 85(2):571-9.

  • Evans DI, Jones RS, Woodhall GL. (2000)
    Activation of presynaptic group III metabotropic receptors enhances glutamate release in rat entorhinal cortex
    Journal of Neurophysiology 83(5):2519-25.

  • Perez Y, Chapman CA, Woodhall GL, Robitaille R, Lacaille JC. (1999)
    Differential induction of long-lasting potentiation of inhibitory postsynaptic otentials by theta patterned stimulation versus 100-Hz tetanization in ippocampal pyramidal cells in vitro.
    Neuroscience. 09 (3):747-57.

  • Woodhall GL, Gee CE, Robitaille R, Lacaille JC. (1999)
    Membrane potential and intracellular Ca2+ oscillations activated by mGluRs in ippocampal stratum oriens/alveus interneurons.
    Journal of Neurophysiology 81(1):371-82.

  • Carmant L, Woodhall GL, Ouardouz M, Robitaille R, Lacaille JC. (1997)
    Interneuron-specific Ca2+ responses linked to metabotropic and ionotropic glutamate receptors in rat hippocampal slices.
    European Journal of Neuroscience . 9(8):1625-35.