Dr Lyndsay Murray

My lab focusing on investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms which make motor neurons vulnerable to degeneration, with a specific interest in the childhood motor neuron disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

Dr Lyndsay Murray

Lecturer in Anatomy

Hugh Robson Building

15 George Square

Edinburgh EH8 9XD

Contact details

 Email: Lyndsay.Murray@ed.ac.uk

Personal profile

  • 2020 - Present: Senior Lecturer in Anatomy
  • 2014 - 2020: Lecturer in Anatomy
  • 2010 - 2014: Postdoctoral Fellow, Kothary Lab, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
  • 2006 - 2010: PhD in Neuroscience, Gillingwater Lab University of Edinburgh.
  • 2005 - 2006: MSc in Life Science, University of Edinburgh.
  • 2000 - 2004: BSc in Biomedical Science with Hons in Physiology

Research Theme


Our work aims to understand the both reasons why motor neurons are vulnerable and what mechanisms contribute to their degeneration.

It is our hope that by understanding these processes we can develop ways in which to protect motor neurons in a variety of pathological contexts.

More specifically, one of our current projects is centred on transcriptional profiling of differentially vulnerable motor neurons.  We aim to identify factors which make specific pools of motor neurons selectively resistant in motor neuron disease, and use this knowledge to develop new neuroprotective strategies.

Our lab has a specific interest in the childhood motor neuron disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  We have ongoing projects looking at where and when pathology starts within the motor neuron.  We aim to understand how this limits the effective therapeutic time window, and develop ways to maximize the benefits for patients who are treated after symptoms have started.

An additional area of interest is based on the observation that neonatal axons and synapses degenerate more slowly after injury that they do in adults.  We aim to understand why this is, and use this as a model system to better understand the processes of axon degeneration.



Team members

Selected publications

  1. Mole AJ., Bell S., Thomson AK., Dissanayake K., Ribchester RR., Murray LM. (2020) The rate of Wallerian degeneration following injury is influenced by postnatal maturity, motor unit specific properties and the presence of underlying pathology in mice. Journal of Anatomy, 237:263
  2. Villalón E., Kline RA., Smith CE., Lorson ZC., Osman EY., O’Day S., Murray LM., Lorson CL., (2019) AAV9-Stathmin1 gene delivery improves disease phenotype in an intermediate mouse model of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Hum Mol Genet.  28:3742
  3. Deguise, MO., Baranello G., Mastella C., Beauvais A., Michaud J., Leone A., De Amicis R., Battezzati A., Dunham C., Selby K.,  Warman Chardon J., McMillan HJ., Huang YT., Courtney NL., Mole AJ., Kubinski A., Claus P., Murray LM., Bowerman M., Gillingwater TH., Bertoli S., Parson SH., Kothary R (2019). Abnormal fatty acid metabolism is a core component of spinal muscular atrophy. Ann Clin Transl Neurol 6(8): 1519-1532.
  4. Courtney NL, Mole A, Thomson A., Murray LM., (2019) Reduced P53 levels ameliorate NMJ loss without affecting motor neuron pathology in a mouse model of SMA. Cell Death and Disease 10:515
  5. Kline RA., Dissanayake KN., Hurtado ML., Ahl A., Lamont DJ., Ribchester RR., Court F., Wishart TM., Murray LM.,  (2019) Altered mitochondrial bioenergetics are responsible for the delay in Wallerian degeneration observed in neonatal mice. Neurobiology of Disease 130:104496
  6. Walter LM, Deguise MO, Meijboom KE, Betts CA, Ahlskog N, van Westering TLE, Hazell G, McFall E, Kordala A, Hammond SM, Abendroth F, Murray LM, Shorrock HK, Prosdocimo DA, Haldar SM, Jain MK, Gillingwater TH, Claus P, Kothary R, Wood MJA, Bowerman M (2018) Interventions Targeting Glucocorticoid-Kruppel-like Factor 15-Branched-Chain Amino Acid Signaling Improve Disease Phenotypes in Spinal Muscular Atrophy Mice. EBioMedicine 31: 226-242.
  7. Jn Groen E, Perenthaler E, Courtney NL, Jordan CY, Shorrock HK, van der Hoorn D, Huang YT, Murray LM, Viero G, Gillingwater TH (2018) Temporal and tissue-specific variability of SMN protein levels in mouse models of spinal muscular atrophy. Hum Mol Genet.
  8. Kline RA, Kaifer KA, Osman EY, Carella F, Tiberi A, Ross J, Pennetta G, Lorson CL, Murray LM (2017) Comparison of independent screens on differentially vulnerable motor neurons reveals alpha-synuclein as a common modifier in motor neuron diseases. PLoS Genet 13: e1006680.
  9. Bowerman M, Murray LM, Scamps F, Schneider BL, Kothary R, Raoul C (2017) Pathogenic commonalities between spinal muscular atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Converging roads to therapeutic development. Eur J Med Genet.
  10. Hall EA, Nahorski MS, Murray LM, Shaheen R, Perkins E, Dissanayake KN, Kristaryanto Y, Jones RA, Vogt J, Rivagorda M, Handley MT, Mali GR, Quidwai T, Soares DC, Keighren MA, McKie L, Mort RL, Gammoh N, Garcia-Munoz A, Davey T, Vermeren M, Walsh D, Budd P, Aligianis IA, Faqeih E, Quigley AJ, Jackson IJ, Kulathu Y, Jackson M, Ribchester RR, von Kriegsheim A, Alkuraya FS, Woods CG, Maher ER, Mill P (2017) PLAA Mutations Cause a Lethal Infantile Epileptic Encephalopathy by Disrupting Ubiquitin-Mediated Endolysosomal Degradation of Synaptic Proteins. Am J Hum Genet 100: 706-724.
  11. Murray LM, Beauvais A, Gibeault S, Courtney NL, Kothary R. (2015) Transcriptional Profiling of Differentially Vulnerable Motor Neurons at Pre-symptomatic Stage in the Smn2B/- Mouse Model of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Acta Neuropathologica Communications. 3:55-72


For Full record please see https://www.research.ed.ac.uk/en/persons/lyndsay-murray