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Kim Lawson

Dr Kim Lawson BTech(Hons), PhD

Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology


Dr Kim Lawson received his BTech (Hons) in pharmacology from Bradford University and a PhD in pharmacology from Sunderland University. He has an international reputation in Drug Discovery Research, gained in academia and multinational pharmaceutical industries (France: Rhone-Poulenc, Recherche Syntex France; Belgium: Sanofi-Labaz; UK: Reckitt & Colman, British Biotech) and now lectures at Sheffield Hallam University in pharmacology and physiology.


Dr Kim Lawson has research interests and expertise focused towards i) the identification of novel targets for the development of drugs for the treatment of fibromyalgia and ii) modulation of potassium channels as a therapeutic approach. This work has involved collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry and national and international researchers at universities and within healthcare. His research has led to over 100 publications and regular presentations at scientific and clinical conferences.

Kim is regularly invited as a consultant to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries and affiliated organisations, to talk at public events and scientific conferences, to write 'expert opinion' articles for scientific and clinical journals and to contribute to CME/CPD activities. He is the chair of the Medical Advisory Board to Fibromyalgia Action UK, in addition to being a Patron to Folly Pogs Fibromyalgia Research UK. Kim regularly publishes in, and is a member on the editorial boards of international scientific and medical journals.

Specialist areas of interest



MSc Biosciences Programme and BSc Biosciences and Chemistry Programme
Non-medical Prescribing Programme
Nursing and Midwifery Undergraduate Programme
Professions Allied to Health Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programme


Pharmacology of potassium channels
Modulation of K channel activity offers a therapeutic advantage by influencing the stability of cells and as a mechanism to rectify pathophysiological states. Specific modulators (openers and blockers) have been identified for a limited number K channel subtypes. The scope of this field is emerging and the number of likely therapeutic indications for K channel modulators will increase as insight into the dynamics of expression of these channels in various diseases grows and the issues of required selectivity are resolved.

Current research is designed to gain greater understanding of the role of K channels in cell regulation and their potential as therapeutic targets. Programs of work have an emphasis on the rational design and evaluation of agents acting on BKCa channels and KATP channels. 

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FM) is a chronic condition that presents with a complex of symptoms that include widespread pain, fatigue, dysfunctional sleep and cognitive disruption. FM is described as a condition of heightened generalized sensitization to sensory input, where the pathophysiology includes dysfunction of the CNS pain modulatory systems, dysfunction of the neuroendocrine system, and dysautonomia. Progress in the identification of effective treatments of FM has been made recently.

Current research is focused on the identification of drug targets to enable rational design of agents for the management of FM, exploration of improved methods of diagnosis and the investigation of the current management and awareness of FM.

Collaborators and Sponsors

Professor V Calderone, Dipartimento di Psichiatria, Neurobiology, Farmacologia e Biotechnologie, Universita di Pisa, Italy

Drs P Furness and SJ Taylor, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Sheffield Hallam University

Dan Austin, Manager, Inmedix UK Ltd

Dr. Christopher A. Jenner MB BS, FRCA, FFPMRCA, Consultant in Pain Medicine, Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust, and Medical Director. London Pain Clinic

Dr Attam Singh MB BS, FRCA, FFPMRCA,  Clinical Associate, London Pain Clinic


Journal articles

Piragine, E., Citi, V., Lawson, K., Calderone, V., & Martelli, A. (2022). Potential effects of natural H 2 S-Donors in Hypertension Management. Biomolecules, 12 (4).

Lawson, K., Singh, A., Kantsedikas, I., Jenner, C.A., & Austen, D.K. (2021). Flupirtine as a Potential Treatment for Fibromyalgia. Journal of Exploratory Research in Pharmacology.

Taylor, S., Furness, P., Ashe, S., Haywood-Small, S., & Lawson, K. (2021). Comorbid Conditions, Mental Health and Cognitive Functions in Adults with Fibromyalgia. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 43 (2), 115-122.

Lawson, K. (2020). Sleep Dysfunction in Fibromyalgia and Therapeutic Approach Options. OBM Neurobiology, 4 (1), 16.

Furness, P. (2019). A qualitative exploration of experiences of physiotherapy among people with fibromyalgia in the United Kingdom. Pain and Rehabilitation - the Journal of Physiotherapy Pain Association, 2020 (48), 37-47.

Lawson, K. (2019). Is there a role for melatonin in fibromyalgia? AIMS Molecular Science, 6 (4), 73-86.

Lawson, K. (2019). Pharmacology and clinical applications of flupirtine: Current and future options. World journal of pharmacology, 8 (1), 1-13.

Lawson, K. (2018). Kv7 channels a potential therapeutic target in fibromyalgia: A hypothesis. World Journal of Pharmacology, 7 (1), 1-9.

Taylor, S., Steer, M., Ashe, S., Furness, P., Haywood-Small, S., & Lawson, K. (2018). Patients' perspective of the effectiveness and acceptability of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments of fibromyalgia. Scandinavian Journal of Pain.

Furness, P., Vogt, K., Ashe, S., Taylor, S., Haywood-Small, S., & Lawson, K. (2018). What causes Fibromyalgia? An online survey of patient perspectives. Health Psychology Open, 5 (2).

Lawson, K. (2018). Flupirtine is an effective analgesic: is the associated rare liver injury a limiting factor to its use? Anesthesia and Analgesia.

Ashe, S., Furness, P., Taylor, S., Haywood-Small, S., & Lawson, K. (2017). A qualitative exploration of the experiences of living with and being treated for fibromyalgia. Health Psychology Open, 4 (2), 1-12.

Lawson, K. (2017). A brief review of the pharmacology of amitriptyline and clinical outcomes in treating fibromyalgia. Biomedicines, 5 (2), 24.

Lawson, K. (2017). Emerging pharmacological strategies for the treatment offibromyalgia. World Journal of Pharmacology, 6 (1), 1-10.

Ashe, S., Furness, P., Taylor, S., Haywood-Small, S., & Lawson, K. (2016). "Not all in my head": a qualitative exploration of living with fibromyalgia and its treatments (Oral presentation). The European Health Psychologist, 18 (Supp), 695.

Lawson, K. (2016). Fibromyalgia pathogenesis provides drug target clues. Drug Target Review, 3, 45-49.

Lawson, K. (2016). Potential drug therapies for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Expert opinion on investigational drugs, 1-11.

Lawson, K. (2014). Clinical trials for patients with fibromyalgia syndrome. Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology, 04 (05).

Martelli, A., Testai, L., Breschi, M.C., Lawson, K., Mckay, N., Miceli, F., ... Calderone, V. (2013). Vasorelaxation by hydrogen sulphide involves activation of Kv7 potassium channels. Pharmacological Research, 70 (1), 27-34.

Kirby, R.W., Martelli, A., Calderone, V., McKay, N.G., & Lawson, K. (2013). Large conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channel (BK Ca) activating properties of a series of novel N-arylbenzamides: Channel subunit dependent effects. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 21 (14), 4186-4191.

Vahabi, B., Lawson, K., Mckay, N., & Sellers, D. (2011). Phasic activity of urinary bladder smooth muscle in the streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat: effect of potassium channel modulators. European Journal of Pharmacology, 660 (2-3), 431-437.

Beard, S.M., Roskell, N., Le, T.K., Zhao, Y., Coleman, A., Ang, D., & Lawson, K. (2011). Cost effectiveness of duloxetine in the treatment of fibromyalgia in the United States. Journal of medical economics.

Vahabi, B., Mckay, N.G., Lawson, K., & Sellers, D.J. (2010). The role of c-kit-positive interstitial cells in mediating phasic contractions of bladder strips from streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. BJU International.

Lawson, K. (2009). Pregabalin and Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Treatment Option. Clinical Medicine: Therapeutics, 1, 809-824.

Puttini, P.S., Häuser, W., Lawson, K., & Sprott, H. (2009). 11 Topical Seminar Summary: FIBROMYALGIA SYNDROME. European Journal of Pain, 13, S5-S6.

Lawson, K. (2009). Beneficial treatment of fibromyalgia. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine, 55 (3), 159-160.

Lawson, K. (2008). Pharmacological treatments of fibromyalgia: Do complex conditions need complex therapies? Drug Discovery Today, 13 (7-8), 333-340.

Mckay, N., Kirby, R.W., & Lawson, K. (2008). Rubidium efflux as a tool for the pharmacological characterisation of compounds with BK channel opening properties. Methods in Molecular Biology, 491 (491), 267-277.

Lawson, K. (2008). Treatment options and patient perspectives in the management of fibromyalgia: future trends. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 4 (6), 1059-1071.

Lawson, K., Shawcross, E., & Raphael, J.H. (2008). Function of Potassium Channels in Blood Mononuclear Cells of Patients with Fibromyalgia. Journal of pain management, 1 (3), 289-293.

Lawson, K., Shawcross, E., & Raphael, J.H. (2008). Insensitivity of Lymphocytes of Patients with Neuropathic Pain Conditions to K+Channel Blockers. Journal of pain management, 1 (1), 43-48.

McKay, N.G., Kirby, R.W., & Lawson, K. (2008). Rubidium efflux as a tool for the pharmacological characterisation of compounds with BK channel opening properties. Methods in Molecular Biology, 491, 267-277.

Lawson, K. (2007). Are complex therapies required as pharmacological treatments of fibromyalgia? Future Rheumatology, 2 (6), 599-605.

Lawson, K. (2006). Emerging pharmacological therapies for fibromyalgia. Current Opinion in Investigational Drugs, 7 (7), 631-636.

Lawson, K. (2006). Potassium channels as targets for the management of pain. Central Nervous System Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, 6 (2), 119-128.

Lawson, K., & McKay, N. (2006). Modulation of potassium channels as a therapeutic approach. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 12 (4), 459-470.

Lawson, K. (2003). Increasing awareness and recognition of fibromyalgia. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 10 (6), 244.

Lawson, K. (2002). Tricyclic antidepressants and fibromyalgia: what is the mechanism of action? Expert opinion on investigational drugs, 11 (10), 1437-1445.

Lawson, K. (2002). British Pharmacology Society - Autumn Meeting 2002. IDrugs, 5 (10), 969-971.

Lawson, K., & Dunne, M.J. (2001). Peripheral channelopathies as targets for potassium channel openers. Expert opinion on investigational drugs, 10 (7), 1345-1359.

Lawson, K. (2000). Atrasentan Abbott. Current Opinion in Cardiovascular, Pulmonary and Renal Investigational Drugs, 2 (4), 362-371.

Lawson, K. (2000). British Pharmacological Society Cambridge Symposia. 5-7 January 2000, Cambridge, UK. IDrugs, 3 (4), 373-376.

Lawson, K. (2000). Potassium channel openers as potential therapeutic weapons in ion channel disease. Kidney International, 57 (3), 838-845.

Lawson, K. (2000). Is there a role for potassium channel openers in neuronal ion channel disorders? Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs, 9 (10), 2269-2280.

Lawson, K. (1999). Cannabinoids. IDrugs, 2 (10), 977-979.

Lawson, K. (1999). Receptor modulation. IDrugs, 2 (3), 220-224.

Lawson, K. (1999). Therapeutic applications of anti-depressant drugs in fibromyalgia syndrome. Physiotherapy, 85 (4), 197-200.

Lawson, K. (1998). Tizanidine: A therapeutic weapon for spasticity? Physiotherapy, 84 (9), 418-420.

Lawson, K., Barras, M., Armstrong, J.M., & Hicks, P.E. (1997). Effects of K+ channel inhibitors and antagonists on NS-004 evoked relaxations in guinea-pig isolated trachea. Fundamental and Clinical Pharmacology, 11 (1), 78-82.

Lawson, K. (1996). Potassium channel activation: A potential therapeutic approach? Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 70 (1), 39-63.

Lawson, K. (1996). Is there a therapeutic future for 'potassium channel openers'? Clinical Science, 91 (6), 651-663.

Lawson, K., & Chatelain, P. (1992). Effects of the divalent cations nickel and cadmium on contractions of rat aorta to endothelin‐1. Journal of Autonomic Pharmacology, 12 (4), 237-244.

Lawson, K., Barras, M., Zazzi‐Sudriez, E., Martin, D.J., Armstrong, J.M., & Hicks, P.E. (1992). Differential effects of endothelin‐1 on the vasorelaxant properties of benzopyran and non‐benzopyran potassium channel openers. British Journal of Pharmacology, 107 (1), 58-65.

Le Monnier de Gouville, A.C., Lawson, K., Thiry, C., & Cavero, I. (1991). SK and F 87516, a close analog of fenoldopam, is a partial agonist at dopamine-1 and alpha-2 receptors and produces stimulation of 5-hydroxytryptamine-2 receptors in the cardiovascular system of the rat. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 256 (3), 1049-1056.

Lawson, K., & Cavero, I. (1989). Contractile responses to calcium chloride in rat aortic rings bathed in K+‐free solution are resistant to organic calcium antagonists. British Journal of Pharmacology, 96 (1), 17-22.

Lawson, K., & Chatelain, P. (1989). Contractions of rat aorta to endothelin are sensitive to nickel and cadmium ions but not nicardipine or omega-conotoxin. British journal of pharmacology, 98 Suppl.

LAWSON, K., & CAVERO, I. (1989). (‐)‐BAY K 8644 LIBERATES A CONTRACTANT FACTOR FROM THE ENDOTHELIUM OF THE RAT AORTA. Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology, 3 (6), 687-693.

Lawson, K., & Cavero, I. (1989). Effects of Ca2+ antagonists and K+‐channel activators on K+‐induced contractions in the rat aorta. Journal of Autonomic Pharmacology, 9 (5), 329-336.

Cavero, I., Thiry, C., Pratz, J., & Lawson, K. (1987). Cardiovascular characterization of DA-1 and DA-2 dopamine receptor agonists in anesthetized rats. Clinical and Experimental Hypertension, A9 (5-6), 931-952.


Conference papers


Vahabi, B., Lawson, K., Mckay, N., & Sellers, D. (2009). Cholinergic modulation of spontaneous activity in bladder strips from the diabetic rat : effect of the mucosa. European Eurology Supplements, 8 (4), 177.

Vahabi, B., Mckay, N., Lawson, K., & Sellers, D. (2008). Identification of C-Kit positive cells in rat urinary bladder and characterization of their functional role in spontaneous activity in control and diabetic bladders. European Eurology Supplements, 7 (3), 181.

Sellers, D., Mckay, N., & Lawson, K. (2008). Inhibitory effect of cromakalim on muscarinic receptor-stimulated spontaneous activity in diabetic rat bladder. Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology, 22 (Suppl), p34.

Masunaga, K., Chapple, C.R., Chess-Williams, R., Mckay, N., Lawson, K., & Sellers, D.J. (2007). The effect of beta-adrenoceptor agonists and beta 3-adrenoceptor antagonist on detrusor contraction in the presence and absence of urothelium. BJU INTERNATIONAL, 99, 12.

Vahabi, B., Lawson, K., Mckay, N., & Sellers, D. (2007). Spontaneous activity in the diabetic rat bladder detrusor muscle. EUROPEAN UROLOGY SUPPLEMENTS, 6 (2), 272.

Raphael, J.H., Shawcross, E., Labib, M., Kitas, G.D., & Lawson, K. (2005). Potassium channel activity in lymphocytes of patients with fibromyalgia. RHEUMATOLOGY, 44, I106-I107.

Lawson, K. (2002). British Pharmacological Society - Autumn Meeting: 2002 3-6 September 2002, Glasgow, UK. IDrugs, 5 (10), 969-971.

Dawson, N.J., Yoshiizumi, K., & Lawson, K. (2002). Effects of N-G-monomethyl-L-arginine on the vasorelaxant responses to novel thienylcyanoguanidine potassium channel openers in rat isolated aorta. BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY, 135.

Dawson, N.J., & Lawson, K. (2002). Pinacidil, but not cromakalim, -induced Rb efflux from rat isolated aorta is attenuated by N-G-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME). BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY, 135.

Dawson, N.J., & Lawson, K. (2000). N-G-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester attenuates the vasorelaxations to DY-9708, but not cromakalim, in rat isolated aortic rings. BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY, 131, U17.

Carr, C.M.R., & Lawson, K. (1999). Effect of the L-arginine analogue N-G-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester on vasorelaxations to ATP-sensitive potassium channel openers in rat isolated aorta. BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY, 128, U37.

Lawson, K., Minard, M.A., Armstrong, J.M., & Hicks, P.E. (1990). BRL-38227, but not RP-49356 or pinacidil, shows higher relaxant potency against low potassium than endothelin-1 contracted rat aorta. European Journal of Pharmacology, 183 (2), 266-267.

Theses / Dissertations

Liaskos, M. (2016). The role of the urothelial mucosa in bladder mechanosensation. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Mckay, N., Lawson, K., & Haddock, G.

Nyamwaro, H.M. (2012). Pharmacological investigation of porcine bladder function and sensory activity. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Mckay, N., Lawson, K., & Sellers, D.

Vahabi, B. (2009). Investigation of the physiology and pathophysiology of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat bladder. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Sellers, D., Mckay, N., Lawson, K., & Woodroofe, N.

Kirby, R.W. (2008). Investigation of the pharmacophore of BK[ca] potassium channel openers. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Mckay, N., & Lawson, K.

Other activities

Chair of the Medical Advisory Board to Fibromyalgia Action UK
Patron to Folly Pogs Fibromyalgia Research UK

Postgraduate supervision

2008 R Kirby
2009 B Vahabi
2013 H Nyamwaro
2016 M Liaskos


Dr Kim Lawson is a senior lecturer in pharmacology and is a qualified pharmacologist with an international reputation in drug discovery research, gained in academia and multinational pharmaceutical industries. His two main areas of research interest include the pharmacology of potassium channels and the identification of treatments of fibromyalgia.

Kim is regularly invited as a consultant by the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries and affiliated organisations, to talk at public events and scientific conferences and to write 'expert opinion' articles for scientific and clinical journals. He is also an Advisory Board Member to the Fibromyalgia Association UK and FibroAction, and Patron of the Fibromyalgia Regional Coordinators Consortium (UK) as well as Patron to Folly Pogs Fibromyalgia Research UK.

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