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Dr Andrew Dilley


Dr Andrew Dilley (PhD)

Senior Lecturer in Anatomy
T: +44 (0)1273 877094
Location: Medical Research Building, Room 209, BSMS, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9PX

Other roles: Module Leader for Musculoskeletal and Immune Systems (module 204); Member of Year 2 Phase Exam Board; Member of Review Boards for modules 202 and 204; Chair of Module 303, 304, 305, and 306 Exam Boards; Member of BSMS Admissions Board; Member of University of Sussex Ethical Review Committee
Areas of expertise: Neurosciene; Imaging
Research areas: Peripheral mechanisms of neuropathic pain; nerve inflammation and electrophysiology


In 1996, Dr Andrew Dilley completed a BSc in Anatomy and Development Biology at University College London (UCL). He went on to undertake a PhD in neurophysiology at Kings College London, focussing on the mechanisms underlying the peripheral neuropathy, Guillain-Barré syndrome. Following completion of his PhD in 2000, Andrew returned to UCL as a postdoctoral research fellow within the Department of Physiology. At UCL, he established his interest in peripheral neuropathic pain mechanisms. During this post, Andrew ran laboratory and human (ultrasound) studies that examined the role of peripheral nerve inflammation (neuritis) in neuropathic pain pathways. He also taught musculoskeletal anatomy to postgraduate students.

In 2005, Andrew was offered a position at Harvard Medical School, in Boston, as an Instructor in Anesthesia. During a two year period at Harvard, he worked alongside Dr Geoffrey Bove, where he continued his laboratory research into the role of neuritis in neuropathic pain. In 2007, Andrew was appointed Lecturer in Anatomy at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and in 2013 he was promoted to Senior Lecturer. At BSMS, he successfully leads a research team that focus on the peripheral mechanisms of neuropathic pain. He also jointly leads the Brighton and Sussex Pain Network.


Andrew’s research encompasses both laboratory and human studies into the peripheral mechanisms of neuropathic pain. His research is aimed at understanding the causes of pain in common neuropathic pain conditions, for example, non-specific back pain, repetitive strain injuries, whiplash-associated disorder and complex regional pain syndrome.

Laboratory studies focus on models of minor nerve injury, such as the neuritis model. He uses a range of electrophysiological techniques, combined with behavioural and immunohistochemical procedures, to study the responses of axons to inflammation.  His laboratory has considerable expertise in single unit extracellular recording techniques, which enable recordings from isolated nociceptive (pain) axons. Andrew’s research is specifically aimed at understanding the mechanisms that lead to increases in excitability in inflamed primary sensory neurons. An area of particular interest is the role of axonal transport disruption. Results from Andrew’s laboratory studies suggest that symptoms of neuropathic pain can be generated from inflamed peripheral nerves in the absence of frank nerve injury.

Human studies employ a range of imaging techniques (ultrasound and MRI) to identify signs of peripheral nerve inflammation and entrapment in patients with neuropathic pain. These studies allow a two-pronged approach to try and fully understand the involvement of inflammation and minor neuropathology in pain production. Ultimately, Andrew’s studies aim to reveal novel potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of chronic pain.  Andrew has published extensively in his field and has received funding from the NC3Rs, Pain Relief Foundation and the US Department of Defence.


Andrew’s main teaching focus is musculoskeletal anatomy and neuroanatomy. He is actively involved in teaching within Phase 1 of the MBBS medical programme, where he leads module 204 (Musculoskeletal and Immune systems) and teaches extensively on modules 202 (Neuroscience and Behaviour).

Andrew uses a multifaceted approach for his teaching, whereby lectures are combined with human dissection, tutorials and quizzes that together produce a multimodal learning experience. He has won best second year teacher for five consecutive years, as well as the University of Sussex award for teaching excellence.  Andrew is particularly interested in the practical use of medical imaging in anatomy and physiology education, and has successfully integrated ultrasound as a tool for learning anatomy and physiology into Phase 1 modules.

Andrew’s teaching extends beyond the undergraduate medical course. He also teaches on a range of other programmes, which include BSMS Masters courses, as well as anatomy teaching for the Universities of Sussex, Brighton and Chichester, and the NHS. Andrew plays a significant role in the assessment process, module review and curriculum development within the medical school, and sits on both Phase 1 and 2 teaching committees. Andrew is always keen to engage the public in science, and frequently receives invitations to speak at both national and international public events.

Selected publications

Richards N, Dilley A. Contribution of hyperpolarization-activated channels to heat hypersensitivity and ongoing activity in the neuritis model. Neuroscience. 2015;284:87-98.

Dilley A, Richards N, Pulman K, Bove G. Disruption of Fast Axonal Transport in the Rat Induces Behavioral Changes Consistent With Neuropathic Pain. The Journal of Pain. 2013;14(11):1437-1449.

Pulman K, Smith M, Mengozzi M, Ghezzi P, Dilley A. The erythropoietin-derived peptide ARA290 reverses mechanical allodynia in the neuritis model. Neuroscience. 2013;233:174-183.

Dilley A, Greening J. Non-specific arm pain. In: McMahon S, Koltzenburg M, editors. Wall and Melzack’s Textbook of Pain. London: Elsevier Health Sciences UK; 2013.

Dilley A, Greening J, Walker-Bone K, Good C. Magnetic resonance imaging signal hyperintensity of neural tissues in diffuse chronic pain syndromes: A pilot study. Muscle & Nerve. 2011;44(6):981-984.

Bove G, Dilley A. The conundrum of sensitization when recording from nociceptors. Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 2010;188(2):213-218.

Dilley A, Bove G. Disruption of axoplasmic transport induces mechanical sensitivity in intact rat C-fibre nociceptor axons. The Journal of Physiology. 2008;586(2):593-604.

Dilley A, Bove G. Resolution of Inflammation-Induced Axonal Mechanical Sensitivity and Conduction Slowing in C-Fiber Nociceptors. The Journal of Pain. 2008;9(2):185-192.

Dilley A, Lynn B, Pang S. Pressure and stretch mechanosensitivity of peripheral nerve fibres following local inflammation of the nerve trunk. Pain. 2005;117(3):462-472.