Centre for Neuroregeneration


Centre for Neuroregeneration News

25 July 2017

Fish reveal clues to healing spinal cord injuries

Researchers in the Becker Lab have pinpointed a key mechanism that helps the nerve connections to regrow.

They found that after injury, wound-healing cells called fibroblasts move into the site of damage.

In people and other mammals, the matrix in the injury site blocks nerves from growing back. We have now pinpointed the signals that remove this roadblock in zebrafish, so that nerve cells can repair connections that are lost after damage to the spinal cord

Dr Thomas BeckerCentre for Neuroregeneration, University of Edinburgh

These fibroblasts produce a molecule called collagen 12, which changes the structure of the support matrix that surrounds nerve fibres.

This enables the damaged fibres to grow back across the wound site and restore the lost connections.

The findings could pave the way for treatments that help restore vital connections between the brain and muscles of the body that are lost after spinal cord injury.

For people and other mammals, damage to the spinal cord is permanent and results in irreversible paralysis.

Full University of Edinburgh article

Journal article

BBC article

CNR's Becker Group


21 April 2017

Dementia experts join £250m initiative to combat disease

Dementia researchers across the UK are joining forces to find new ways of tackling the condition.

The University of Edinburgh is to join five other institutions to form the UK Dementia Research Institute,a £250m initiative bringing together world-leading expertise and cutting-edge facilities.

The UK DRI is seeking ambitious, talented scientists from around the world, from different fields across biomedical and translational research and a significant amount of positions will be created, more information on this and much more can be found using the link below.

UK Dementia Research Institute

23 March 2017

Joint CNR-CIP 2nd Year PhD Student Presentations

CNR and CIP students in the second year of their PhD will be presenting their work in the Lecture Theatre B, Chancellor’s Building, Little France from 10:00 on Friday, 21st of April 2017.

Presentations will be in a 3-minute thesis format. We hope this will make for a stimulating and enjoyable couple of hours and we encourage everyone from both centres to attend.

Following the presentations there will be an opportunity to continue discussions over lunch in the Seminar Room 2, Chancellor’s Building from 12noon.


27 February 2017

Congratulations Thomas Barrett

Congratulations to Thomas Barrett, currently an MSc Integrative Neuroscience student in the Becker group. Thomas has been awarded a competitive 4 year BBSRC Eastbio PhD studentship to continue his work on spinal cord regeneration in the Becker group.

CNR's Becker Group

BBSRC Eastbio

27 February 2017

4 year PhD programme in Translational Neuroscience applicants come to the Centre

Professor Peter Brophy of CNR recently gave a tour of the Centre to applicants in the Wellcome Trust funded 4 year PhD programme in Translational Neuroscience: Lifecourse influences on human brain health.  This prestigious, and innovative, research and 'Training to Translate'  programme will address a current global need by focussing on the advancement of knowledge, expertise and skills in clinical translation and will draw on unique Edinburgh research strengths in diseases across the life-course to achieve this goal.

Edinburgh Neuroscience PhD Gateway

23 November 2016

Sieger lab: Zebrafish in the headlines

A recently published manuscript from the Sieger lab on their new zebrafish microglia-glioma model received significant press coverage today. The new model allows the team to directly observe microglial responses to brain tumours. The Sieger lab is aiming to understand the mechanisms triggering the pro-tumoural activity of the microglia. In the future this new model will help to identify new drugs that convert microglial activity within the glioblastoma.

Selected media coverage

BBC – Reporting Scotland – Lunch Time News – Tue 22 Nov

The Scotsman: Zebrafish help Edinburgh scientists probe brain tumour growth

World News Feed : Zebrafish in Edinburgh brain tumour research

The National: Brain cancer breakthrough: cells found to aid rather than fight against tumour growth


31 October 2016

Sieger lab: New Zebrafish Glioblastoma Model

The Sieger lab have published a manuscript on their new zebrafish microglia-glioblastoma model. The study published last week highlights the advantages of the zebrafish to understand the complex interactions between microglia and glioblastoma cells. Glioblastoma is the most common and most aggressive brain tumour. These tumours are highly infiltrated by microglia. Microglia are the resident immune cells of the brain and are meant to protect our brain. However, their response to glioblastomas is detrimental. Instead of fighting the tumour microglia actively support tumour growth. The new zebrafish model will help to understand the mechanisms triggering this behaviour and to identify new drugs that convert microglial activity within the glioblastoma. Cancer Research UK, who fund the Sieger lab, have covered the study in their latest science blog: