Professor SIMON PARSON

Professor SIMON PARSON
FAS

Chair in Anatomy

Overview
Professor SIMON PARSON
Professor SIMON PARSON

Contact Details

Telephone
work +44 (0)1224 274328
Email
Address
The University of Aberdeen Anatomy
Rm 324 Suttie Centre
Foresterhill
University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen
AB24 3HF

Biography

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

Research

Research Interests

The Neuromuscular Junction

Neurodegenerative diseases of the neuromuscular system

Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Current Research

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 blood vessels which supply skeletal muscle and spinal cord where motor neurones are located. We are now seeking to determine the relationship between SMN protein deficiency and vessel defects, utilising a variety of model species and tissues. 

We hope that this will lead either to further understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in tissue-specific defects in SMA or an ameliorative treatment strategy to be used in combination with therapies directed specifcally towards motor neurones. 

Collaborations

Professor Tom Gillingwater, University of Edinburgh

Dr's Barry McColl and Laura McCuloch, Roslin Institute Edinburgh

Professor Kevin Talbot, University of Oxford

Professor Brunhilde Wirth, University of Cologne, Germany

Professor Peter Carmeliet, University of Leuven, Belgium

Research Grants

SMA Trust Research Project Grant

Anatomical Society PhD Studentship

College Award

Teaching

Teaching Responsibilities

All aspects of Anatomy teaching to Medical and Science students

Further Info

External Responsibilities

Elected Councillor, Anatomical Society, 2010-

Meetings Officer, Anatomical Society, 2011-

Honorary lecturer, University of Edinburgh, 2013-

Admin Responsibilities

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

Publications

Publications 

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