Professor of Anatomy
Tom graduated in Human Biology [Anatomy] from the University of Leeds before moving to the University of Edinburgh, graduating with a PhD in Neuroscience in 2001. Following a period of postdoctoral research, he was appointed to a Lectureship in Anatomy at the University of Edinburgh in 2004, promoted to a personal chair in 2010, and became the 15th Professor of Anatomy at the University of Edinburgh in 2015 (the Chair of Anatomy was founded in 1705).
Tom graduated from Edinburgh University Business School with an MBA in 2006, is an elected Fellow of both the Anatomical Society and the Royal Microscopical Society, and is an elected Member of the Institute of Directors.
Tom leads a research team that has obtained in excess of £6million in research funding from a variety of international funding bodies. Tom has authored more than 90 papers in a variety of leading international journals, including Journal of Clinical Investigation, The Lancet, Nature Neuroscience, Brain, PLoS Genetics, Neuron, Nature Communications, Journal of Neuroscience, Trends in Molecular Medicine, Human Molecular Genetics, Annals of Neurology, American Journal of Human Genetics and Current Biology. He has supervised or co-supervised 15 PhD students and 11 MSc students as well as numerous postgraduate and undergraduate project students.
Tom has board-level experience from several national and international organisations (including Association Française Contre les Myopathies, the SMA Trust, the Anatomical Society, and NeuroORG) and sits on the editorial boards of three international journals: he has been Editor-in-Chief at the Journal of Anatomy since 2011, Academic Editor at PLoS One since 2011, and Associate Editor at the Journal of Neuromuscular Diseases since 2013. Tom regularly acts as an expert reviewer for international grant agencies, research journals and academic textbooks. He is currently serving as an external examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and is an Intercollegiate MRCS Examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons.
Tom contributes to a range of undergraduate and postgraduate anatomy teaching at the University of Edinburgh, including many modules on the MBChB and the MSc in Human Anatomy. Tom is Course Director for Anatomy & Pathology 2, a core module on the BSc Medical Sciences degree program. Tom also contributes to several undergraduate and postgraduate neuroscience courses at Edinburgh and to postgraduate anatomy training courses at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
Tom’s research laboratory is based in the Centre for Integrative Physiology and the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research. It focuses on understanding cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the form and function of the nervous system in health and disease. Members of the lab routinely combine quantitative imaging (e.g. confocal and electron microscopy) and molecular biology techniques (e.g. proteomics and microarray screens) to study the structure and function of the central and peripheral nervous systems, both in vivo and in vitro. Currently, research efforts are focussed on: i) understanding disease mechanisms and developing new therapies for motor neuron diseases, including spinal muscular atrophy (SMA); ii) understanding common cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the breakdown of axonal and synaptic compartments across a range of different neurodegenerative conditions (from motor neuron disease through to Alzheimer’s disease, lysosomal storage disorders, and Huntington’s disease); and iii) developing novel imaging strategies for visualising the human nervous system in vivo.
Hunter, G., Powis, R.A., Jones, R.A., Groen, E.J.N., Shorrock, H.K., Lane, F.M., Zheng, Y., Anderson, H., Sherman, D.L., Brophy, P.J. & Gillingwater, T.H. (2016) Restoration of SMN in Schwann cells reverses myelination defects and improves neuromuscular function in spinal muscular atrophy. Human Molecular Genetics In Press.
Smith, C.F., Finn, G.M., Stewart, J., Lee, T.C., Gillingwater, T.H. & McHanwell, S. (2016) A new core gross anatomy syllabus for medicine. Anatomical Sciences Education 9: 209-210.
Powis, R.A. & Gillingwater, T.H. (2016) Selective loss of alpha motor neurons with sparing of gamma motor neurons and spinal cord cholinergic neurons in a mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy. Journal of Anatomy 228: 443-451.
Somers, E., Lees, R.D., Hoban, K., Sleigh, J.N., Zhou, H., Muntoni, F., Talbot, K., Gillingwater, T.H. & Parson, S.H. (2016) Vascular defects and spinal cord hypoxia in spinal muscular atrophy. Annals of Neurology 79: 217-230.
Nicholson-Fish J.C., Kokotos A.C., Gillingwater T.H., Smillie K.J. & Cousin M.A. (2015) VAMP4 is an essential cargo molecule for activity-dependent bulk endocytosis. Neuron 88: 973-984.
Groen, E.J. & Gillingwater, T.H. (2015) UBA1: at the crossroads of ubiquitin homeostasis and neurodegeneration. Trends in Molecular Medicine 21: 622-632.
Comley, L.H., Fuller, H.R., Wishart, T.M., Mutsaers, C.A., Thomson, D., Wright, A.K., Ribchester, R.R., Morris, G.E., Parson, S.H., Horsburgh, K. & Gillingwater, T.H. (2011) ApoE isoform-specific regulation of regeneration in the peripheral nervous system. Human Molecular Genetics 20: 2406-2421.