Emma Dumble

Thesis title: Investigating mechanisms by which oligodendrocyte precursor cells govern the size of retinal ganglion cells in the Zebrafish visual system


Year of study: 2

Contact details

PhD supervisor:



Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences
Chancellor's Building
Edinburgh Bioquarter
49 Little France Crescent

Post code
EH16 4SB


Two-year Master's in Developmental Biology- Sorbonne Université (France), 2021.

BSc(Hons) in Biomedical Science - Cardiff University, 2015.

Research summary

Oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) form around 5% of the central nervous system and have long been known to give rise to myelinating oligodendrocytes. However, there are far more OPCs than ever differentiate into myelinating oligodendrocytes.

I am working to investigate the non-myelinating roles of OPCs, including how they might be sculpting the visual system in zebrafish. It has previously been shown that OPCs govern the size of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in the zebrafish optic tectum, with an absence of OPCs resulting in an increased RGC arbor size and functional deficits (Xiao, Nature Neuroscience 2023). My project centres around investigating the mechanisms by which OPCs mediate this. I am currently investigating OPC postsynapse development, and whether OPCs form synapses with RGCs in the visual system. I am also investigating OPC activity integration with RGCs and whether this influences RGC development. 


Affiliated research centres

  • Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences
  • Edinburgh Neuroscience