Identifying novel neuroprotective mechanisms in motor neurone disease

About the project

Our research focuses on identifying new neuroprotective pathways which can be exploited for the treatment of motor neurone diseases. 

Our primary focus is on the childhood motor neuron disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy, but we are also interested in drawing parallels between adult and childhood forms of motor neurone disease, and identifying neuroprotective strategies which are effective in multiple types of motor neurone disease. 

Current projects include:

  • investigating the role of P53 in neuronal and non-neuronal tissues in mouse models of SMA;
  • investigating motor unit recovery following Smn restoration and determining how delayed Smn restoration affects the recovery of the motor unit
  • analysing the synchronicity of pathology within single motor units in mouse models of SMA carrying the YFP-H transgene
  • analysis of differentially vulnerable motor neurons to identify novel neuroprotective pathways which can benefit multiple motor neurone diseases


Anatomical Society, Muscular Dystrophy Association


Kline, R.A., Kaifer, K.A., Osman, E.Y., Carella, F., Tiberi, A., Ross, J., Pennetta, G., Lorson, C.L., Murray, L.M.
Comparison of independent screens on differentially vulnerable motor neurons reveals alpha-synuclein as a common modifier in motor neuron diseases.
PLoS Genet 13, e1006680.
2017 Mar 31

Primary location


Principal Investigator

Other people involved

Alison Thomson (Postdoc)

Natalie Courtney (PhD Student)

Alannah Mole (PhD Student)