Dr Michael N Routledge

Dr Michael N Routledge


I obtained my degree in cell biology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1986 and went on to complete a DPhil in chemical carcinogenesis at the University of York in 1991. I completed postdoctoral fellowships at the NCI Frederick Cancer Research & Development Center in Frederick, Maryland, the University of York and the University of Leicester. I was then appointed as a Senior Lecturer in Applied Toxicology at De Montfort University, from 1998-2000. In 2000 I moved to the School of Medicine at Leeds as a Lecturer in Molecular Epidemiology. I was appointed Associate Professor in 2013 and now focus on mycotoxin research (exposure and health effects, especially for aflatoxin in Africa) and toxicity of urban particulate matter. I am also lead in several student education areas for the School and University.


  • Academic Sub-Dean Year 2 MBChB
  • Discovery Theme Lead Mind & Body Theme
  • ICU Lead for Body Systems Year 1 MBChB

Research interests

Mycotoxins are produced by fungi that grow on food crops. Although they occur around the globe, the most toxic, such as aflatoxin, are a major health concern in warm humid countries such as in sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. In the cross-faculty Mycotoxin Research Group, we use laboratory analytical methods to measure biomarkers of mycotoxin exposure in blood or urine from exposed populations, and epidemiological methods to assess the health impact of this exposure.  In particular we have worked closely with colleagues in Tanzania and the Gambia to study health impacts on children. One of these impacts is on impairment of child growth:


Our work has made an impact on awareness and policy-making in sub-Saharan Africa, through collaboration with the East Africa Community and the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa.





I have also worked on the toxicity of urban particulate matter for several years. Ultrafine particles such as those present in traffic exhaust emissions contribute greatly to the toxic effects of air pollution. They can induce DNA damage, a first step in carcinogenesis. Recently we have investigated the impact of particulates on blood clotting, as a possible mechanism by which particles can induce cardiovascular events such as heart attack.

DOI: 10.1160/TH17-05-0362 


  • BSc Cell Biology (Hons) - University of Newcastle upon Tyne 1986
  • DPhil - University of York 1991

Professional memberships

  • UK Environmental Mutagen Society

Student education

I have a broad range of student education experience delivering, assessing and managing teaching, with an interest in curriculum development and assessment. I have taught on many modules within the School of Medicine, with a focus on 1st year biomedical science and research project modules to medical students. In particular, I have taught carcinogenesis, toxicology, immunology, pharmacology and molecular epidemiology over the last 20 years on various undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

I have designed several modules, including an on-line discovery module, Introduction to Human Disease, that is also available as an open access course, Causes of Human Disease, on the FutureLearn platform.

I also regularly teach on external master's courses and occasional international short courses in the UK, Finland, China and Indonesia.

I have held several student education lead roles, and am currently the Discovery Theme Lead for the Mind & Body theme, as part of the University Broadening strand.

I also have a pastoral role for 2nd year medical students as Academic Sub-Dean helping to guide students going through challenges to their progress.

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine
  • Clinical and Population Science
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>