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Professor Brian Houston BSc, PhD, DSc

Photograph of Brian Houston

Professor of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics

Manchester Pharmacy School
Room 3.33, Stopford Building
Oxford Road
M13 9PT


Director of Centre for Applied Pharmacokinetic Research and Group Leader of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetic Research Group and Head of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Manchester Pharmacy School .


The Centre for Applied Pharmacokinetic Research (CAPKR) provides an international lead in the development, evaluation and implementation of in vitro and in silico approaches for predicting human pharmacokinetics. Pharmacokinetics plays a pivotal role in drug discovery, development and use since it widely recognised that being bioactive is not enough to ensure therapeutic success. Knowledge on how a drug enters and is processed by the body is as critical as knowledge as its interaction with target sites. Even today many promising drug candidates fail to make it through drug development due to poor pharmacokinetic properties such as inadequate absorption, poor stability, excessive interaction with other drugs. Other drugs are prematurely withdrawn from the market due to toxicities arising from pharmacokinetic idiosyncrasies.

CAPKR’s aim is to improve prediction at all steps between drug discovery and use with mechanism-based modelling methodologies. Major advances have been made in delineating the science that underpins the development and evaluation of paradigms for human prediction. Research activities include, prediction of drug hepatic clearance, molecular and kinetic basis of drug-drug interactions, pharmacokinetic and statistical modelling. Our use of human tissue, and validated surrogates such as recombinant proteins together with computer simulation and modelling are in sympathy with the current ethical and political pressures to reduce, refine and replace the use of animals in research.

Prediction of Drug Clearance in Humans
Drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK)  play a pivotal role in drug discovery, development and use. Often drug development is halted or use limited by poor PK properties, mainly drug clearance. We are developing paradigms for the quantitative prediction of human drug clearance through the comprehensive use of different in vitro systems to delineate interactions between the cytochrome P450 and UDP-glucuronyltransferase enzymes and other cellular processes (including permeability and transporter proteins). We are particularly interested in the the need to incorporate variability and uncertainty within the extrapolation process and transporter-mediated events in delineating hepatic clearance.

Molecular and kinetic basis of Drug-Drug Interactions
In the era of polypharmacy, drug-drug interactions are of major concern and continue to result in drugs being within drawn from the commercial market. We are interested in inhibition of CYP enzymes transporter proteins as the major cause of drug-drug interactions and the ability of simple in vitro systems to predict this effect. We are assessing the modelling of time dependent inhibition, multiple DDIs, transporter involvement and induction effects.

Research links


  • Drug Toxicity
  • Drug Metabolism and Disposition
  • Pharmacokinetics


Brian obtained his BSc, PhD and DSc from the Universities of London (Queen Mary College), Surrey and Manchester, respectively. He is currently Professor of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics within the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. His research is sponsored by a number of sources including the pharmaceutical industry, BBSRC, DoH and the EU.

Brian is Director of the Centre for Applied Pharmacokinetic Research within the School of Pharmacy. This involves four faculty members and supports twenty research staff. As a consortium it operates in collaboration with, and financially supported by international pharmaceutical companies. All research is generic and involves the prediction of human pharmacokinetics.

In recent years he has been particularly active through his research and numerous conference presentations in promoting the use of in vitro and in silico systems for predicting human metabolism and pharmacokinetics.
Brian is a member of the editorial boards of several scientific journals, has experience on national science funding bodies and is a consultant to a number of pharmaceutical companies.

He has supervised over 60 graduate students.  His research publications in the area of drug metabolite kinetics in vivo and  in vitro exceed 200 and are highly cited.  He was named as a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher in 2015 - ranking among the top 1% most cited scientists in his subject field (Pharmacology & Toxicology) earning him the mark of exceptional impact.  His is an AAPS Fellow and has received the ISSX 2014 European Scientific Achievement Award.



  • 1997 - DSc (Manchester)
  • 1973 - PhD (Surrey)
  • 1970 - BSc (Queen Mary College, London)

Collaborators and affiliated staff

CAPKR Collaboration

Leon Aarons

Aleksandra Galetin

Amin Rostami

Kayode Ogungbenro

Adam Darwch

Dave Hallifax

Postdoctoral Associates / PhD Students

A Ufuk, F Assmus

F Wood, J Harrison, Eva Sherbetjian

Research Technican

S Murby

External Collaborators

John Miners

Simcyp Ltd

Selected publications


  • Houston, J. B., Rowland, A., Hallifax, D., Nussio, M. R., Shapter, J. G., Mackenzie, P. I., ... Miners, J. O. (2015).

    Characterization of the comparative drug binding to intra- (liver fatty acid binding protein) and extra- (human serum albumin) cellular proteins. Xenobiotica, 45(10), 847-857. DOI:DOI:10.3109/00498254.2015.1021403

. Publication link: 65713cde-93d5-46c7-9d4f-b801e411ea68

  • Houston, J. B., Ufuk, A., Somers, G., & Galetin, A. (2015).

    In Vitro Assessment of Uptake and Lysosomal Sequestration of Respiratory Drugs in Alveolar Macrophage Cell Line NR8383. Pharmaceutical Research, 32(12), 3937-3951. DOI:doi 10.1007/s11095-015

  • . Publication link: 9d0e95d7-8ec9-4ff5-a462-c2513b4551d6

  • Houston, B., Assmus, F., & Galetin, A. (2015).

    In Silico Prediction of Hepatocellular Drug Binding. In host publication. (Vol. A10). Publication link: a9680c8c-7351-4499-86b0-e0b0527287db

  • Houston, B., Bruyn, T. D., Barton, H. A., Bi, Y-A., Cantrill, C., Galetin, A., ... Kosa, R. (2015).

    Cynomoglus monkey as a preclinical model for the investigation of hepatic uptake of OATP substrates. In host publication. (Vol. P11). Publication link: e60f29b5-66a0-424c-9592-052b7de5d61b

  • Houston, B., Kageyama, M., & Galetin, A. (2015).

    "Time dependent" inhibition of hepatic uptake transporters in hepatocytes and implications on the assessment of transporter-mediated drug-drug interactions. In host publication. (Vol. P43). Publication link: 17743e91-e910-41a5-a215-3152786b79df

  • Houston, B., Ufuk, A., Plumb, J., & Galetin, A. (2015).

    Comparison of respiratory drug accumulation and lysosomal sequestration in NR8383 and primary human al veolar macrophages. In host publication. (Vol. A11). Publication link: 11843377-cc0a-4770-b7a5-113fad0a27a9

  • Houston, B., Wood, F., & Hallifax, D. (2015).

    Assessing metabolic competence in isolated hepatocytes: Exploring the relationship between enzyme function and plasma membrane integrity via Saponin treatment. In host publication. (Vol. P10). Publication link: 23a552ec-b700-4463-862d-784dd5d64258

  • 2014




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