Dr Nicholas Freestone


I am an Associate Professor for Physiology and Pharmacology and Course Director for undergraduate Pharmaceutical Science degree courses at Kingston. I research in two different disciplines. The first is in bioscience and relates largely to studying calcium handling in isolated cardiac myocytes.  The second relates to my interrogation of the nature of learning itself at university via pedagogic research.

As a bioscientist I ran my own BHF-funded laboratory at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge in Professor Sir Michael Berridge's Laboratory of Molecular Signalling. As a pedagogical researcher I run national workshops on teaching and learning for academic colleagues under the auspices of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and the Heads of University Biosciences (HUBS)/Royal Society of Biology (RSB).

I am a Senior Fellow of the HEA, a Fellow of the RSB and UK Educational Lead for the Physiological Society. I am the holder of the UK HEA Bioscience Teacher of the Year Award 2014/15.

Academic responsibilities

Associate professor


  • BSc Physiology (with Pharmacology) and Psychology
  • MPhil Clinical Biochemistry
  • PhD Cardiovascular Physiology


My research has largely involved looking at the role of beta adrenoceptors in regulating single cardiac cell function. In particular I helped to characterise the role of a novel beta-AR now called the low affinity beta1-AR. This receptor is resistant to blockade by propranolol but seems to be linked to arrhythmogenesis. I am also interested in the morphological and functional differences between atrial and ventricular cardiac cells. Techniques I have used to investigate these areas have included single cell fluorescence, confocal microscopy, western blotting and biochemical assays.

I have also induced experimental forms of heart failure in experimental animals and studied the effect of novel pharmacological agents on the compromised myocardium.

In terms of pedagogical research I have extensively investigated the nature of the student experience at Kingston University, especially as it relates to the MPharm Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science degrees. I am currently investigating BME attainment in these programmes

Research student supervision


Number of items: 16.


ElShaer, Amr, Casanova, Diogo, Freestone, Nicholas S and Calabrese, Gianpiero (2020) Students' perceptions of the value of electronic feedback : does disciplinary background really matter? British Journal Of Educational Technology, 51(2), pp. 590-606. ISSN (print) 0007-1013

Ghosh, Anshuman, Freestone, Nicholas S, Anim-Nyame, Nicholas and Arrigoni, Francesca I F (2017) Microvascular function in pre-eclampsia is influenced by insulin resistance and an imbalance of angiogenic mediators. Physiological Reports, 5(8), e13185. ISSN (online) 2051-817X

Anim-Nyame, Nick, Ghosh, Anshuman, Freestone, Nicholas and Arrigoni, Francesca (2015) Relationship between insulin resistance and circulating endothelial cells in pre-eclampsia. Gynecological endocrinology : the official journal of the International Society of Gynecological Endocrinology, 31(10), pp. 788-791. ISSN (print) 1473-0766

Sam, C, Alhakem, H and Freestone, N.S. (2013) [Beta]-Adrenergic subtypes in chick embryonic cardiac myocytes. Proceedings of the 6th European Congress of Pharmacology, pp. 63-66.

Freestone, N. (2013) Equity in Higher Education provision: stretching the able. Proceedings Of the 6th European Congress of Pharmacology, pp. 189-192.

Sam, C.L.S., Bolton, T.B., Piper, I.T., Greenhill, D and Freestone, N.S. (2013) A novel mechanism for the genesis of arrhythmias? The role of the low affinity β1-adrenergic receptor and CGP12177 in spontaneous calcium release in rat atrial myocytes. Proceedings of the 6th European Congress of Pharmacology, pp. 75-78.

Freestone, Nicholas, Khan, Aisha and Sam, Cynthia (2012) Collaborative teaching across the 1992 divide. Proceedings STEM Annual Conference 2012,

Abdullah, A, Arrigoni, F and Freestone, N (2010) Tumour cell adhesion of endothelial cell monolayer. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 62(10), pp. 1496-1498. ISSN (print) 0022-3573

Freestone, Nicholas (2009) Drafting and acting on feedback supports student learning when writing essay assignments. Advances in Physiology Education, 33(2), pp. 98-102. ISSN (print) 1043-4046

Conference or Workshop Item

Freestone, Nicholas and Thatti, Baljit (2019) Supporting inclusion and encouraging diversity in chemistry. In: Redefining Success: Royal Society of Chemistry Inclusion and Diversity Forum 2019; 05 Nov 2019, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Ghatora, Baljit, Freestone, Nicholas and Rooney, Brian (2018) The use of co-curricular activities to increase student engagement on interdisciplinary degree courses and instil graduate outcomes. In: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference: Making Connections, Innovating and Sharing Pedagogy; 28-29 Jun 2018, Hull, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Thatti, Baljit, Freestone, Nicholas and Ali, Salma (2018) Personal tutors and tutees perceptions of a personal tutoring system. In: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference : Making Connections, Innovating and Sharing Pedagogy; 28-29 Jun 2018, Hull, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Freestone, N (2013) Differentiated learning: an update. In: HEA STEM: Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 2013: Where practice and pedagogy meet; 17-18 April 2013, Birmingham, UK. (Unpublished)

Freestone, Nick (2012) Teaching collaboratively across the 1992 divide. In: Educational Research Forum; 15 Jun 2012, Kingston upon Thames, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Freestone, Nicholas and Sam, Cynthia (2011) Team teaching across two very different higher education institutions: the Kingston MPharm degree. In: Scanning the Horizons: Institutional Research in a Borderless World. The 4th UK and Ireland Higher Education Institutional Research Network Conference; 16-17 Jun 2011, Kingston, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Freestone, Nicholas and Sam, Cynthia (2011) Unpalatable truths about institutional research: when doing the right thing costs. In: Scanning the Horizons: Institutional Research in a Borderless World. The 4th UK and Ireland Higher Education Institutional Research Network Conference; 16-17 Jun 2011, Kingston, U.K.. (Unpublished)

This list was generated on Sat Aug 8 05:25:45 2020 BST.

Leadership and management

I am an Educational Theme Lead for The Physiological Society and a member of the Education, Public Engagement and Policy Committee of The Physiological Society.  This is a pivotal role in the policy and practice environment as it relates to the teaching and dissemination of physiology and related Biosciences across the UK.

I was also a member of a working group acting for the British Pharmacological Society that drew up the new BSc Pharmacology curriculum for Pharmacology courses in the UK.

Using all the resources at my disposal as a result of the above leadership and management roles I have been able to initiate a number of successful interventions into my teaching practice. These have resulted in the courses that I lead, the suite of undergraduate Pharmaceutical Science degrees at Kingston University being shortlisted for the Guardian University Awards in 2020. This was for work I have done in removing the attainment gaps for all identifiable student cohorts in this degree.

I am an elected member of Senate, Kingston University's most senior consultative committee for academic matters and this gives me a role to play in the strategic direction of the university, especially in the area of learning, teaching and assessment.

Finally, I am the elected Chair of the Kingston University Branch of the University and College Union.

All of the above roles are ones to which I have been elected by my peers and enable me to play a strategic and practical role in shaping the future, not only of Kingston University, but learning in the wider Biosciences.