Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences
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Dr Rachel James

I am primarily interested in mitochondria and their role in health and nervous system diseases.

Rachel James

Postdoctoral Researcher - Gillingwater Group

  • Hugh Robson Building
  • 15 George Square
  • Edinburgh, EH8 9XD

Contact details

Personal profile

  • 2018–present: Daphne Jackson Trust Research Fellow (career re-entry fellowship), Centre for Brain Discovery Sciences, University of Edinburgh

  • 2007–2010: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems, University of Edinburgh

  • 2003–2005 and 2006–2007: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Medical Genetics Section, University of Edinburgh

  • 1999–2003: PhD in Medical Genetics, University of Edinburgh

  • 1998–1999: Research Assistant, Centre for Genome Research, University of Edinburgh

  • 1994–1998: BSc in Neuroscience, University of Glasgow


I am primarily interested in mitochondria and their role in health and nervous system diseases. Consequently, I am investigating the role of mitochondria in the childhood motor neuron disease, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). My project aims to further understand the disease mechanisms of SMA and identify novel combinatorial therapies. To do this, I am using a cell culture approach coupled with molecular and biochemical methods.

Recent publications

  • James R. How a part-time fellowship enticed a scientist back to academia (2022). Nature. doi: 10.1038/d41586-022-00042-5.

  • James R, Chaytow H, Ledahawsky LL, Gillingwater TH. Revisiting the role of mitochondria in spinal muscular atrophy (2021). Cellular & Molecular Life Sciences. doi: 10.1007/s00018-021-03819-5.

  • James R, Searcy JL, Le Bihan T, Martin S, Roses A, Gliddon CM, Povey J, Smith J, Deighton RF, Kerr LE, McCulloch J & Horsburgh K Proteomic analysis of mitochondria in APOE transgenic mice and in response to an ischemic challenge (2011). Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism. doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2011.120.

  • Millar JK, James R, Christie S & Porteous DJ. Disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1): subcellular targeting and induction of ring mitochondria (2005). Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience 30, 477–484.

  • Millar JK, Pickard BS, Mackie S, James R, Christie S, Buchanan SR, Malloy MP, Chubb JE, Huston E, Baillie GS, Thomson PA, Hill EV, Brandon NJ, Rain JC, Camargo LM, Whiting PJ, Houslay MD, Blackwood DHR, Muir WJ & Porteous DJ. DISC1 and PDE4B are interacting genetic factors in schizophrenia that regulate cAMP signalling (2005). Science 310, 1187–1191.

  • James R, Adams RR, Christie S, Buchanan SR, Porteous DJ & Millar JK. Disrupted in Schizophrenia (DISC1) is a multicompartmentalized protein that predominantly localizes to mitochondria (2004). Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience 26, 112–122.