Dr Ross Jones

Structure and Function of the Human Neuromuscular Junction

Dr Ross Jones 

Senior Lecturer in Clinical & Surgical Anatomy

Hugh Robson Building

15 George Square

Edinburgh EH8 9XD

Contact details

 Work: +44 (0)131 6515207

 Email: Ross.Jones@ed.ac.uk


Personal Profile

Ross graduated in Medicine from the University of St Andrews/Manchester and trained in General Surgery in the North West Deanery (2007-2017) prior to his appointment in Clinical and Surgical Anatomy at the University of Edinburgh. He co-ordinates the Regional Anatomy Programme for Core Surgical Training (NHS Scotland Deanery; Improving Surgical Training Strategy) and co-convenes the Wade Programme in Surgical Anatomy (The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh). Ross is a member of the Intercollegiate Committee for Basic Surgical Examinations (ICBSE) with commitments involving both the MRCS Part A (MCQ; paper panel, question quality, standard setting) and MRCS Part B (OSCE; deputy lead for anatomy broad content area, intercollegiate examiner).

Professional Qualifications

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA), Imperial College London, 2021-
  • Fellow of the Anatomical Society (FAS), 2019
  • Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (MRCS Ed), 2019
  • Licenced Teacher of Anatomy, Scottish Government Health Directorate, 2018
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, Human Anatomy), University of Edinburgh, 2017
  • Master of Science (MSc, Human Anatomy), University of Edinburgh, 2012
  • Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (MRCS Eng), 2008
  • Registered Medical Practitioner (GMC: 6130052), General Medical Council, 2005
  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB, Medicine), University of Manchester, 2005
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc, Medical Sciences), University of St Andrews, 2002

Research Theme

Synapses, Circuits and Behaviour 

Ageing and Degeneration 

Research Overview

CDBS Ross Jones

Ross’ research focuses on the structure and function of the human neuromuscular junction (NMJ) in health and disease, and aims to inform the translation of animal models of neurodegenerative disease (e.g. motor neurone disease) to the treatment of patients with these conditions. He is a member of the Euan MacDonald Centre for motor neurone disease research, and collaborates closely with the Gillingwater laboratory. Ross co-ordinates the tissue sampling (human NMJ) programme with the Department of Clinical Surgery, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, which has provided new insights into the human NMJ in health and disease (e.g. cancer cachexia).

Team members

  • Abrar Alhindi (co-supervision with Gillingwater lab)
  • Abdullah Ramadan (co-supervision with Gillingwater lab)


Selected publications

Original Articles

  • PhadwalK, KooE, JonesRA, ForsytheRO, Caporali A, MacRaeVE. Metformin protects against vascular calcification through the selective degradation of Runx2 by the p62 autophagy receptor. Journal of Cellular Physiology (2022; in press; JCP-22-0023).
  • Cahalan SD, Boehm I, Jones RA, Piercy RJ. Recognising the potential of large animals for modelling neuromuscular junction physiology and disease. Journal of Anatomy. DOI: 10.1111/joa.13749 (2022; in press).
  • Cahalan SD, Perkins J, Boehm I, Jones RA, Gillingwater TH, Piercy RJ. A method to identify, dissect and stain equine neuromuscular junctions for morphological analysis. Journal of Anatomy. DOI: 10.1111/joa.13747 (2022; in press).
  • Collins D, Jones RA, Griffiths B. Anatomical approaches in locally advanced and recurrent pelvic malignancy. European Journal of Surgical Oncology. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejso.2021.12.469 (2022).
  • Jones RA, Mortimer JW, Thompson C, Clark-Stewart S, Hogg G, Keni S, McCulloch V, Alashkham A, Dhumale S, Maclean SJ, Vella M, Findlater GS, Sinclair DW, Yalamarthi S, Gillingwater TH. Improving Surgical Training: Establishing a Surgical Anatomy Programme in Scotland. International Journal of Surgery. open access (2021).
  • Roesl C, Evans ER, Dissanayake KN, Boczanadi V, Jones RA, Jordan GR, Ledahawsky L, Allen GCC, Scott M, Thomson A, Wishart TM, Hughes DI, Mead RJ, Shone CC, Slater CR, Gillingwater TH, Skehel PA, Ribchester RR. Confocal endomicroscopy of neuromuscular junctions stained with physiologically inert protein fragments of tetanus toxin. Biomolecules. 11, 1499 (2021). 
  • Alhindi A, Boehm I, Forsythe RO, Miller J, Skipworth RJE, Simpson H, Jones RA, Gillingwater TH. Terminal Schwann Cells at the Human Neuromuscular Junction. Brain Communications. open access (2021).
  • Boehm I, Alhindi A, Leite AS, Logie C, Gibbs A, Murray O, Farrukh R, Pirie R, Proudfoot C, Clutton R, Wishart TM, Jones RA, Gillingwater TH. Comparative anatomy of the mammalian neuromuscular junction. Journal of Anatomy. open access (2020).
  • Minty G, Hoppen A, Boehm I, Alhindi A, Gibb L, Potter E, Wagner BC, Miller J, Skipworth RJE, Gillingwater TH, Jones RA. aNMJ-morph: a simple macro for rapid analysis of neuromuscular junction morphology. Royal Society Open Science. open access (2020).
  • Boehm I, Miller J, Wishart TM, Wigmore SJ, Skipworth RJE, Jones RA, Gillingwater TH. Neuromuscular junctions are stable in patients with cancer cachexia. Journal of Clinical Investigation. open access (2020).
  • Marques RF, Engler JB, Küchler K, Jones RA, Lingner T, Salinas G, Gillingwater TH, Friese MA, Duncan KE. Motor neuron translatome reveals deregulation of SYNGR4 and PLEKHB1 in mutant TDP-43 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis models. Human Molecular Genetics. 29, 2647-2661 (2020).
  • Jones RA, Harrison C, Eaton SL, Hurtado ML, Graham LC, Alkhammash L, Oladiran OA, Gale A, Lamont DJ, Simpson H, Simmen MW, Soeller C, Wishart TM, Gillingwater TH. Cellular and Molecular Anatomy of the Human Neuromuscular Junction. Cell Reports. open access (2017).
  • Herranz-Martin S, Chandran J, Lewis K, Mulcahy P, Higginbottom A, Walker C, Martinez-Pena y Valenzuela I, Jones RA, Coldicott I, Azzouz M et al. Viral delivery of C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansions in mice leads to repeat-length-dependent neuropathology and behavioural deficits. Disease Models & Mechanisms. 10, 859-868 (2017). 
  • Hall EA, Nahorski MS, Murray LM, Shaheen R, Perkins E, Dissanayake KN, Kristaryanto Y, Jones RA, Vogt J, Mill P et al. PLAA Mutations Cause a Lethal Infantile Epileptic Encephalopathy by Disrupting Ubiquitin-Mediated Endolysosomal Degradation of Synaptic Proteins. The American Journal of Human Genetics. 100, 706-724 (2017).
  • Jones RA, Reich CD, Dissanayake KN, Kristmundsdottir F, Findlater GS, Ribchester RR, Simmen MW, Gillingwater TH. NMJ-morph reveals principal components of synaptic morphology influencing structure-function relationships at the neuromuscular junction. Open Biology. open access (2016).
  • Ross PD, Guy J, Selfridge J, Kamal B, Bahey N, Tanner KE, Gillingwater TH, Jones RA, Loughrey CM, Cobb S et al. Exclusive expression of MeCP2 in the nervous system distinguishes between brain and peripheral Rett syndrome-like phenotypes. Human Molecular Genetics. 25, 4389-4404 (2016).
  • Powis RA, Karyka E, Boyd P, Côme J, Jones RA, Zheng Y, Szunyogova E, Groen EJN, Hunter G, Gillingwater TH et al. Systemic restoration of UBA1 ameliorates disease in spinal muscular atrophy. JCI Insight. open access (2016).
  • Hunter G, Powis RA, Jones RA, Groen EJN, Shorrock HK, Lane FM, Zheng Y, Sherman DL, Brophy PJ, Gillingwater TH. Restoration of SMN in Schwann cells reverses myelination defects and improves neuromuscular function in spinal muscular atrophy. Human Molecular Genetics. 25, 2853-2861 (2016).
  • Kyriacou A et al (contributor: Jones RA). Acute abdomen due to spontaneous splenic rupture as the first presentation of lung malignancy: a case report. Journal of Medical Case Reports. 5, 444 (2011).
  • Atkin WS et al (collaborator: Jones RA). Once-only flexible sigmoidoscopy screening in prevention of colorectal cancer: a multicentre randomised controlled trial. The Lancet. 375, 1624-1633 (2010).

Book Chapters

  • Bowness J, Taylor A. Illus: Jones RA, Zmuda F. Ultrasound-Guided Regional Anaesthesia: Visualising the Nerve and Needle. In: Rea PM (ed) Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, Volume 1235. Biomedical Visualisation, Volume 6. Springer, pp. 19-34 (2020).
  • Bowness J, Taylor A. Illus: Jones RA, Mortimer JW. Anatomy for the FRCA. Cambridge (2019).
  • Jones RA, Mortimer JW. Anatomy for Surgeons. In: Fisher R, Ahmed K, Dasgupta P (ed) Introduction to Surgery for Students. Springer, pp. 17-29 (2017).

Online Resources

  • Minty G, Hoppen A, Boehm I, Alhindi A, Gibb L, Potter E, Wagner B, Miller J, Skipworth R, Gillingwater TH, Jones RA. aNMJ-morph macro [resource]. University of Edinburgh (2019).
  • Jones RA, Gillingwater TH. NMJ-morph [resource]. University of Edinburgh (2016).

Information for students:

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