School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences


Photo of Dr John S Young

Dr John S Young

  • Qualifications: PhD (Cantab), BSc Hons
  • Role Title: Associate Head (Innovation & Impact) and Reader in Translational Medicine
  • Address: St Michael's Building White Swan Road Portsmouth PO1 2DT
  • Telephone: 023 9284 3564
  • Email:
  • Department: School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
  • Faculty: Faculty of Science


Following a BSc in Biology with year-in-Industry at the University of York (First Class Honours; 1996–2000) and a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge (2000–2004), I undertook post-doctoral work at the Universities of Oxford (2005–2007; 2008–2009), Nevada, Reno (2008) and Surrey (2009–2012). I was then awarded an Age UK Research Into Ageing Research Fellowship (2010) before joining the University of Portsmouth as a Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science (2012). As well as being a dedicated researcher, I have a passion for educating tomorrow’s scientists and health-care practitioners. I have sought every opportunity to inspire and enthuse, project managing the 2004 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures and teaching at every institution within which I have worked.

Teaching Responsibilities

Unit Coordinator of MSc Biomedicine Scientific Methods.

Level 4: Cells to Systems; Introduction to Laboratory Research; Graduate Skills; Introduction to Neuroscience and Pharmacology; Laboratory Skills
Level 5: Research Methods; Biomedical Toolbox
Level 6: Integrated Pathology; Genetic Basis of Disease; Clinical Research in Integrated Medicine; Work-based Learning; Laboratory-based Work Experience; Case Studies in Biomedical Science
MSc (Level 7): Integrated Pathology; Scientific Methods
Undergraduate tutor
Supervision of research projects at Undergraduate and Masters (MSc, MRes) level.
Supervision of summer students at BSc level and via the Trident Scheme.


My research aims to provide better treatments for common, debilitating diseases of the urinary tract by characterising the physiological and pathophysiological bladder and the transition between these two states. My research uses wide-ranging tools: from molecular biology, electrophysiology and calcium imaging to characterise signalling between cells and tissues, to measures of bladder function in human subjects.

Research of Dr Young's Lab aims to characterise the healthy and diseased bladder, and understand the transition between these two states. Urinary incontinence affects at least one in five men and half of all women over the age of 65. The problem gets worse with age and, since the population of the UK is ageing, this is a problem that is increasing. Urinary incontinence reduces quality of life. Its sufferers find it harder to be socially active, are more likely to be depressed and suffer broken bones as a result of more frequent journeys to the bathroom. It exerts enormous pressure on carers, leading to premature institutionalisation.

Treatment options for sufferers of the bladder diseases are limited both in their number and their ability to control symptoms. As such, many people simply suffer with urinary urgency and incontinence; symptoms that leave them isolated from society.

We aim to highlight new targets for the treatment of disease and, by producing better ways to study bladder function, provide a basis to diagnose disease at an earlier stage than current diagnostic methods allow.

Non-invasive measures of bladder function. We ultimately aim to develop the methods to replace the use of the expensive, invasive method used to inspect the bladder’s lining (cystoscopy); the assessment of pressure changes during bladder filling (cystometry); and insensitive, subjective measures (questionnaires of urinary symptoms). We are currently investigating several ‘biomarkers’ of bladder health and function, with the aim to produce the means for rapid, inexpensive diagnosis of bladder disease. It is hoped that these new methods will provide the foundation for frequent monitoring of bladder health in older adults; allowing better monitoring of disease development and progression.

Changes in bladder structure and function with ageing. The bladder undergoes changes with ageing, with changes in the structure and function of the bladder wall coinciding with the onset of diseases of the bladder. Our research aims to separate healthy ageing with diseases of ageing in order to characterise the progression of bladder diseases, and to find new ways to improve urinary symptoms of those affected.

Characterise signalling within the bladder. The muscle of the bladder wall exhibits unsynchronised, low-level contractions during filling; thought to give the bladder its shape. These contractions become much more pronounced in disease and may contribute to both incontinence and a sense of urinary urgency perceived in some bladder diseases. On-going research studies the origin of these contractions and the means by which they may be modulated. In related studies, we are characterising the lining of the bladder in its role as a monitor of bladder fullness. The release of a host of different agents is more pronounced as the bladder fills and in disease, and we are studying their targets within the bladder wall, with the aim of reducing the sensation of urinary urgency perceived in many diseases of the bladder.

Details of recent projects are described in our ‘Urology’ pages.


Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

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