Prof Ian Duguid

We are interested in the cellular and circuit mechanisms that underpin simple and complex motor behaviours.

Professor Ian Duguid

Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow

Hugh Robson Building

15 George Square

Edinburgh EH8 9XD

Contact details

 Work: +44 (0)131 650 3113


 Web: Duguid Lab website

Personal profile

  • 2016 - Present:     Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh
  • 2015 - 2016:           ESAT fellow, University of Edinburgh
  • 2009 - 2015:           Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow, University of Edinburgh
  • 2006 - 2009:           Wellcome Trust Advanced Training Fellow
  • 2001 - 2006:           MRC postdoctoral fellow, University College London
  • 1998 - 2001:           PhD, London School of Pharmacy

Research Theme


How is movement encoded in the brain? By using the neocortex and cerebellum as model systems, our research focuses on unravelling the complex cellular and circuit mechanisms underpinning simple and skilled motor behaviours.

Motor control is a basic but fundamentally important aspect of human and animal behaviour. Descending cortical and brainstem motor control pathways regulate spinal cord circuit activity in order to execute a wide range of motor movements from simple locomotion to complex, dexterous tasks such as reaching or grasping. Over the past century significant advances have been made in understanding how cortical and brainstem motor areas coordinate their activities to generate high-level motor control.

But what are the cellular and circuit mechanism that transform sensorimotor synaptic input into behaviourally relevant patterns of motor commands? How do excitatory and inhibitory microcircuits in the cerebellum and motor cortex coordinate their activity to initiate and control simple and complex movement? What are the neural representations of movement in the brain and how are they organised?

To address these problems we employ a multi-level cellular and systems neuroscience approach combining several in vivo strategies:


We are exploring the cellular computations performed by individual neurons in motor areas during simple and skilled motor behaviour using a combination of in vivo patch-clamp electrophysiology and 2-photon somatic/dendritic calcium imaging.


To investigate how population level representations of movement are organised in motor areas we employ 2-photon calcium imaging in molecularly defined populations of excitatory and inhibitory neurons.


Neuronal processing in the cortex and cerebellum is under potent neuromodulatory control from long-range noradrenergic, dopaminergic and cholinergic inputs. We combine intersectional viral-based optogenetic strategies, in vivo electrophysiology and kinematic analysis to investigate how neuromodulation shapes neuronal activity and motor behaviour.


We have developed and optimised a range of quantitative behavioural paradigms to investigate cellular and circuit representations of movement during simple and skilled motor behaviours. Task success measurements combined with 2D/3D kinematic tracking of limb movements provide metrics for characterising preferred movement strategies across different motor behaviours.

Given the importance of motor control in our everyday lives, our aim is to unravel the complex cellular and circuit mechanisms that control movement in the healthy brain, providing a platform from which we can better understand the mechanistic basis and functional consequences of diseases that affect motor control.


Team members



Puggioni P, Jelitai M, Duguid I. and van Rossum MCW. (2017) Extraction of synaptic input properties invivo. Neural Computation 29(7):1745-1768.

Jelitai M, Puggioni P, Ishikawa T, Rinaldi A and Duguid I. (2016) Dendritic excitation-inhibition balance shapes cerebellar output during motor behaviour. Nature Communications 2016 15;7:13722. doi: 10.1038/ncomms13722 [PMC5172235].

Schiemann J, Puggioni P, Dacre J, Pelko M, Domanski A, van Rossum CW and Duguid IC* (2015). Cellular mechanisms underlying behavioral state-dependent bidirectional modulation of motor cortex output. Cell Reports 11, 1319-1330 [PMC4451462].

Duguid IC**, Branco T, Chadderton P, Arlt C, Powell K and Häusser M (2015). Control of cerebellar granule cell output by sensory-evoked Golgi cell inhibition. PNAS 112(42), 13099 13104 [PMC4620892].

Powell K, Mathy A, Duguid IC** and Häusser M (2015). Synaptic representation of locomotion in single cerebellar granule cells. eLife 10.7554/eLife. 07290 [PMC4499793].

He Q, Duguid IC, Clark B, Panzanelli P, Patel B, Thomas P, Fritschy JM and Smart TG (2015). Interneuron- and GABAA receptor-specific inhibitory synaptic plasticity in cerebellar Purkinje cells. Nature Communications. 6, 7364 DOI: ncomms8364.

Dodson D, Larvin JT, Duffell JM, Garas FN, Doig NM, Kessaris N, Duguid IC, Bogacz R, Butt SJB and Magill P (2015). Distinct Developmental Origins Manifest in the Specialized Encoding of Movement by Adult Neurons of the External Globus Pallidus. Neuron 86, 1-13.

Harris AP, Lennen R, Marshall I, Jansen MA, Pernet CR, Brydges NM, Duguid IC and Holmes MC (2015). Imaging learned fear circuitry in awake mice using fMRI. European Journal of Neuroscience 5, 1-10, DOI: 10.1111/ejn.12939.

Duguid IC* (2013). Presynaptic NMDA receptors: Are they dendritic receptors in disguise? Brain Research Bulletin 93, 4-9.

Duguid IC**, Branco T, London M, Chadderton P, and Hausser M (2012). Tonic inhibition enhances sensory information transmission in the cerebellar cortex. Journal of Neuroscience 32(32), 11132-11143.

Duguid IC** and Smart TG. Presynaptic NMDA receptors (2009). Biology of the NMDA receptor. CRC Press: Chapter 14.

Mathy A, Ho SS, Davie JT, Duguid IC, Clark BA, Häusser M (2009). Encoding of oscillations by axonal bursts in inferior olive neurons. Neuron 62 (3): 388-399. [PMC2777250].

Rancz EA, Ishikawa T, Duguid IC, Chadderton P, Mahon S and Häusser M (2007). High-fidelity transmission of sensory information by single cerebellar mossy fibre boutons. Nature 450 (7173):1245-8.

Duguid IC, Pankratov Y, Moss GW and Smart TG (2007). Somatodendritic release of glutamate regulates synaptic inhibition in cerebellar Purkinje cells via autocrine mGluR1 activation. Journal of Neuroscience 27(46), 12464-12474.

* Corresponding author **Co-corresponding author

Ian Duguid publication list (PDF)

Information for students:

Willingness to discuss research projects with undergraduate and postgraduate students: YES - please click here