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)

Loss of mitochondrial function and disruption of the neuromuscular junction

Primary supervisor: William Phillips

The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is the synapse through which motor nerves control our voluntary muscle fibres. There is growing evidence that NMJs are disrupted and degenerate, leading to muscle weakness, in conditions where the function of muscle mitochondria is impaired (normal aging and some forms of motor neuron disease). This project will employ cell culture methods to investigate the possibility that mitochondrial dysfunction (and associated redox signalling), interfere with the known molecular signalling systems involved in development and homeostasis of the NMJ

Discipline: Physiology