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Spinal Muscular Atrophy MSc by Research

Course Description

Applications are invited to complete a Masters by Research (MScR) with focus on Spinal Muscular Atrophy in the laboratory of Dr Lyndsay Murray. The MSc by Research is a full-time 1-year research project. This program has no taught component and is therefore only suitable for highly motivated students with a clear idea of their research interests and goals, with significant theoretical or practical knowledge of a chosen field. An MSc by full-time research provides an excellent training in laboratory research and a strong grounding for further study at the level of PhD.

The Murray lab is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms which underlie the childhood motor neuron disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). SMA is a devastating disorder which affects around 1:6000 live births. Affected children have a very poor prognosis. In the most severe cases, this disease is fatal before two years of age. The Murray lab predominantly uses mouse models of this disease to investigate defects in motor neurons, and apply this information to develop potential treatments.

How to apply

Those interested should send a CV and covering letter to Lyndsay Murray at .


A scholarship is available to cover the fees associated with this degree, to the value of £6000.


Muscle dissection and immunofluorescence
Confocal Microscopy and neuromuscular junction imaging
NMJ morphological analysis and whole motor unit reconstruction
Transgenic mouse maintenance, cross breeding, intramuscular injections and assessing outcome measures
PCR, q-RT-PCR, western blotting


Murray LM., Beauvais A., Bhanot K. and R., K. (2012) Defects in Neuromuscular Junction Remodelling in the Smn2B/- Mouse Model of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Neurobiology of disease, 49C: 57-67
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

Visit the Spinal Muscular Atrophy MSc by Research page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

The minimum entry requirement for our research programmes is an undergraduate degree, with an excellent or very good classification (equivalent to first or upper second class honours in the UK).

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