Prof Peter Brophy

The lab focuses on the assembly of the node of Ranvier in response to myelination and the function of Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system.

Professor Peter Brophy 

Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience

  • The Chancellor's Building
  • 49 Little France Crescent
  • EH16 4SB

Contact details

Personal profile

Peter Brophy received his BSc from King's College, London University and PhD from Guy's Hospital Medical School (now King's College Medical School), London University. He was the Chair of Veterinary Anatomy & Cell Biology in the Vet School from 1995 to 2009 and Chair of Anatomy in the Medical School from 2009 to 2014 and was the Director of the Centre for Neuroregeneration (formerly the Centre for Neuroscience Research) from 2002 to 2014.

He has served on the research panels of a variety of bodies including the UK Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Neurosciences Panel of the Wellcome Trust. He has Chaired the International Gordon Conference on Myelin and currently Chairs  the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institut du Fer à Moulin, Paris. He is a member of the MRC Training and Career Development Panel and the Neuroscience Committee of the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche.

Research Theme

Injury and Repair

Genes and Development


In the developing vertebrate nervous system oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells not only play a vital role in promoting neuron survival, but they also produce the myelin sheath, which is essential for the normal function of the nervous system, a fact underscored by the debilitating consequences of demyelination in multiple sclerosis in the CNS and in peripheral neuropathies of the Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) type.

The discovery of the Periaxin (Prx) gene and its role in forming the Cajal bands (first described by Santiago Ramon y Cajal) in Schwann cells led to the identification of the cause of a severe demyelinating neuropathy-CMT 4F-in humans. This work also permitted the first experimental proof of the proposal by Huxley and Stämpfli (1949) that internodal distance can regulate nerve conduction velocity.

A second project is focused on the assembly of two structures in the axon that are required for rapid nerve conduction: the axon initial segment (AIS) and the nodes of Ranvier. We have found that three isoforms of neurofascin, one glial, and two neuronal, play distinct but vital roles in the clustering of voltage-gated sodium channels at the node of Ranvier. Neuronal neurofascin also has a vital role at the AIS. Recently we discovered that delivery of this membrane protein to the AIS occurs by a remarkably circuitous route. These studies exploit live imaging using both conventional and super-resolution microscopy.

Team Members


Selected Publications 

Key Earlier Publications