Dr Tom Wishart

Dr Tom Wishart

Dr Tom Wishart

Reader in Molecular Anatomy
The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh

Synapses, the connections between neurons (nerve cells), are affected in many neurodegenerative diseases. Historically, most therapeutic interventions have focused on late-stage events within the neuron as a whole, and have been largely ineffective. In many neurodegenerative conditions, including motor neurone disease, the synapses show alterations long before the rest of the neuron does. Understanding these changes might provide clues as to what might be effective as a therapy.

We are trying to systematically unravel these synapse-specific changes in a range of neurodegenerative conditions. We use state-of-the-art mass screening technologies combined with computational approaches to investigate early degeneration. Simply put, we try to find out what molecules make up the synapse -  i.e., what is in there and how much of it is present - and see how that changes during disease progression. We then try to work out which of these changes has the ability to affect neurodegeneration (can it be used to treat MND?) and which we could use to report on, or predict the progression of, a disease (a biomarker).

×