Molecular Neuroscience Laboratory

Lab head: William Phillips
Location: F13 - Anderson Stuart Building

Understanding the mechanisms that govern the development and maintenance of synapses throughout the nervous system is of key importance as synaptic disorders contribute to a number of disease states. As such, this laboratory is concerned with the studying the synaptic connections between nerve cells and their targets: how they form, how they are maintained through life and how they may be modified in disease states. Research in this laboratory is focussed on those synapses found between motor neurons and muscle cells because studies of these have greatly advanced our understanding of synapses throughout the nervous system.

Lab members: W Phillips (head)

Molecular changes at the aging neuromuscular synapse as causes of synapse loss and muscle weakness (sarcopenia)

Primary supervisor: William Phillips

The neuromuscular junction is the synapse through which motor nerves control our voluntary muscle fibres. Late in life many of these synapses are lost. The resulting loss of muscle control is thought to contribute to the progressive and debilitating weakness of old age (sarcopenia). This project will investigate changes in the molecular structure at the aging neuromuscular synapse that might explain why the nerve terminal withdraws from its longstanding synaptic relationship with the muscle fibre.  We will also investigate the possible therapeutic effects of voluntary exercise and anti-oxidants in aging mice, interventions that might forestall loss of synapses and weakness

Discipline: Physiology