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  High-resolution imaging of the human neuromuscular junction

   College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

  ,  Thursday, August 01, 2024  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is the final synapse linking the nervous system to skeletal muscle, critical for all movements of the body. The NMJ is also an important pathological target in many diseases of the nervous system, including the motor neuron diseases ALS and SMA. We have recently shown that the NMJ in humans is structurally and molecularly unique, differing from NMJs found in other mammals. In order to better establish the nano-scale structure of the human NMJ, we have developed novel high-resolution imaging approaches that can be applied to human muscle biopsy samples. In this project, the student will be trained in all the necessary skills to obtain and work with human muscle biopsy samples, as well as the technical skills required to perform nano-scale imaging. They will get the opportunity to answer questions of fundamental importance about the structure and function of the human NMJ in health and during disease. We are seeking individuals with an interest in morphological research and a desire to contribute to research concerning human neuroanatomy. The student will join a vibrant and supportive multi-disciplinary lab, working with colleagues who are anatomists, cell biologists, medics and vets.

Lab website: Professor Tom Gillingwater | The University of Edinburgh

Twitter/X: @GillingwaterLab

How to apply

Please contact Prof Gillingwater directly with a CV in the first instance to discuss your application before applying formally via our online portal.

The College of Medicine and Veterinary Science is committed to equality of opportunity for all staff and students, actively promoting a culture of inclusivity Equality and diversity | The University of Edinburgh

Biological Sciences (4) Medicine (26)

Funding Notes

Note that this is NOT a funded PhD opportunity. The successful applicant is required to provide their own funding for the project (e.g. government scholarship) to cover tuition fees, any additional project costs and living costs.

International students are welcome and encouraged to apply.


Jones, R.A., Harrison, C., Eaton, S.L., Llavero Hurtado, M., Graham, L.C., Alkhammash, L., Oladiran, O.A., Gale, A., Lamont, D.J., Simpson, H., Simmen, M.W., Soeller, C., Wishart, T.M. & Gillingwater, T.H. (2017) Cellular and molecular anatomy of the human neuromuscular junction. Cell Reports 21: 2348-2356.
Boehm, I., Alhindi, A., Leite, A.S., Logie, C., Gibbs, A., Murray, O., Farrukh, R., Pirie, R., Proudfoot, C., Clutton, R., Wishart, T.M., Jones, R.A. & Gillingwater, T.H. (2020) Comparative anatomy of the mammalian neuromuscular junction. Journal of Anatomy 237: 827-836.
Boehm, I., Miller, J., Wishart, T.M., Wigmore, S.J., Skipworth, R.J.E., Jones, R.A. & Gillingwater, T.H. (2020) Neuromuscular junctions are stable in patients with cancer cachexia. Journal of Clinical Investigation 130: 1461-1465.

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