Regius Chair of Anatomy
BSc Zoology, University of Durham, 1987
PhD Neuroscience, University of Edinburgh, 1990
Lecturer in Anatomy, University of Leeds, 1995
Senior Lecturer in Anatomy, University of Edinburgh, 2006
Professor of Anatomy, University of Aberdeen, 2013
Regius Chair of Anatomy, 2018
Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Systemic involvement in neurodegeneration, espciall the cardiovascular system
Effects of Hypoxia and ischanemia on the nervous system
Spinal muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a childhood form of Motor Neurone Disease. It is caused by a defect in a gene which 1:35 of us carry. When two carriers come together there is a 1:4 chance of producing an affected child. SMA is the second most common genetic cause of infant death, affecting between 1:6-10,000 live births Worldwide. The most severely affected children will never sit unaided and will die before their second birthday. The disease is characterised by a loss of motor neurones and resultant muscle weakness and inability to carry out co-ordinated motor tasks including breathing. The genetic defect is well-characterised and attempts to replace or reduce the severe depletion of the key Survival of Motor Neurone (SMN) protein are ongoing. However, even when protein levels in motor neurones are increased and improvements in motor parameters are reported, survival is not increased.
There is an increasing appreciation that this is not a classical motor neurone disease, but rather a systemic disease in which motor neurones are either most vulnerable or that defects in them are most clinically relevant.
Our research has pionered significant pre and early symptomatic defects in the cardiovascular system, where the heart, blood vessels and circulating cells are all defective in SMA. We are now particulary interested to determine how this impacts on SMA disease development and progression. This is particularly relevant in the new post-Nusinersen/ Spinraza treatment landscape, as this soleley targets neuronal defects.
We are currenty exploring the extent to which the non-neuronal pathologies described in animal models are also seen in human post-mortem material and are using cellular models to determine the vulnerabilities of SMA cells to hypoxic environments. These will help us to understand and develop novel combinatorial therapies to treat the entirity of SMA pathology in patients.
Professor Tom Gillingwater: University of Edinburgh
Dr Tom Wishart: Roslin Institute Edinburgh
Dr Lyndsay Murray: University of Edinburgh
Dr's Francesco Muntoni and Haiyan Zhou: UCL, London
Prof Rashmi Kothary: University of Ottawa, Canada
Prof Charlotte Sumner: John Hopkins University, USA
All aspects of Anatomy teaching to Medical and Science students
- Further Info
Elected Councillor, Anatomical Society: 2010-2016
Meetings Officer, Anatomical Society: 2011- 2016
IFAA Programme Secretary: 2018 -
All aspects relating to Home Office legislation of anatomical teaching and research
College Teaching and Learning Committee
Division of Medical and Dental Education Executive Committee
Year 1-3 Medical Executive Committees
Medicine Curriculum Steering Group
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- Wishart, TM, Mutsaers, CA, Riessland, M, Reimer, MM, Hunter, G, Hannam, ML, Eaton, SL, Fuller, HR, Roche, SL, Somers, E, Morse, R, Young, PJ, Lamont, DJ, Hammerschmidt, M, Joshi, A, Hohenstein, P, Morris, GE, Parson, SH, Skehel, PA, Becker, T, Robinson, IM, Becker, CG, Wirth, B & Gillingwater, TH 2014, 'Dysregulation of ubiquitin homeostasis and β-catenin signaling promote spinal muscular atrophy', The Journal of Clinical Investigation, vol. 124, no. 4, pp. 1821-1834. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI71318
- Parson, SH 2014, 'The singular qualities of motor neurones in health and disease', Journal of Anatomy, vol. 224, no. 1, pp. 1-2. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/joa.12110
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- Somers, E, Riessland, M, Schreml, J, Wirth, B, Gillingwater, TH & Parson, SH 2013, 'Increasing SMN levels using the histone deacetylase inhibitor SAHA ameliorates defects in skeletal muscle microvasculature in a mouse model of severe spinal muscular atrophy', Neuroscience Letters, vol. 544, pp. 100-104. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2013.03.052
- Schreml, J, Riessland, M, Paterno, M, Garbes, L, Roßbach, K, Ackermann, B, Krämer, J, Somers, E, Parson, SH, Heller, R, Berkessel, A, Sterner-Kock, A & Wirth, B 2013, 'Severe SMA mice show organ impairment that cannot be rescued by therapy with the HDACi JNJ-26481585', EJHG : European journal of human genetics : the official journal of the European Society of Human Genetics. , vol. 21, no. 6, pp. 643-652. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2012.222