Personal profile


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.

My research in a nutshell

Research in the Gillingwater lab 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.


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.

Current Research Interests

  • Developing therapies for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)
  • Uncovering mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in SMA and related conditions
  • Understanding the cellular and molecular anatomy of synapses in health and disease
  • Developing synaptoprotective strategies

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Business Administration, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 2006

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 2001

Bachelor of Science, Human Biology [Anatomy], University of Leeds

Award Date: 1 Jan 1998

External positions

Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Anatomy

1 Jan 2011 → …


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