Hamish Runciman

My research investigates presynaptic signalling in Huntington’s Disease (HD).

Hamish Runciman

PhD student - Smillie lab


Hugh Robson Building

15 George Square

Edinburgh EH8 9XD

Contact details:

Email: Hamish.Runciman@ed.ac.uk


Personal Profile

  • 2019 – present: Senior Technical Officer pursuing part-time PhD study, Dr. Karen Smillie and Prof. Mike Cousin laboratories, University of Edinburgh
  • 2016 – 2017: MSc by Research with Distinction Biomedical Sciences (Life Sciences), University of Edinburgh
  • 2015 – 2016: Senior Assistant Scientist, Product Characterisation Dept, Charles River Laboratories
  • 2010 – 2014: BSc (Hons) Cell Biology, University of Stirling


My research investigates presynaptic signalling in Huntington’s Disease (HD).

Synaptic dysfunction is a critical early event in the development of a series of neurodegenerative conditions, including HD. Previous work in the lab has identified signatures of presynaptic dysfunction in neurons derived from a mouse model of HD (McAdam et al., 2020) (HttQ140/Q140 knockin mouse). Importantly these defects are observed in heterozygous neurons, reflecting the human HD condition.

Moreover, the level of the signalling molecule BDNF is reduced in patients and models of HD (Zuccato and Cattaneo, 2007). With my research I want to understand whether or not signalling of the BDNF pathway is disrupted at the presynapse in HD and if this has a role in presynaptic dysfunction.

Revelant Publications

McClafferty, H., Runciman, H. and Shipston, M. J. (2020) ‘Site-specific deacylation by ABHD17a controls BK channel splice variant activity’, Journal of Biological Chemistry. American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Inc., pp. 16487–16496. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA120.015349.