Edinburgh Research Explorer

Karen Horsburgh

Personal Chair of Neuroscience

Profile photo

Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Glasgow
Second messenger systems in Alzheimer’s Disease: an autoradiographical study
Bachelor of Science, University of Glasgow


Karen Horsburgh received a BSc in Pharmacology and a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Glasgow. After post-doctoral training at an Alzheimer’s Disease Institute (Dept. of Neuroscience, University of California, San Diego) she returned to the University of Glasgow and awarded a SHERT/Mrs Jean Baxter Research Fellowship. In May 2002 she received a Wellcome Trust University Award and moved to the University of Edinburgh. She currently holds the position of Professor of Neuroscience. Karen co-ordinates an Alzheimer’s Society doctoral training programme and is a lead member of an Alzheimer’s Research UK Scotland network that involves Scottish universities (Edinburgh, Dundee, St.Andrews and Aberdeen). She is currently a member of the MRC Dementia Platform UK Vascular Experimental Medicine committee (2015 onwards).

Research Interests

My research investigates the mechanisms leading to cognitive impairment relevant to cerebral vascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease and ways to prevent

My research in a nutshell

To function properly, brain cells need a constant supply of nutrients such as oxygen delivered in blood through a network of vessels or vascular system. It is now known that low blood flow, which causes Vascular disease, occurs early in Alzheimer’s disease brain before memory loss. Risk factors, common to dementia, such as age, hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol can also disrupt the vascular system and blood flow. Using experimental models we are probing the underlying mechanisms by which low blood flow and risk factors may damage the brain causing memory loss and are identifying targets which may be amenable to intervention.


 My core teaching focuses on Neuroscience  within undergraduate and post-graduate programmes. 


 Year 4: Honours Neuroscience  


MSc by Research Integrative Neuroscience  

Course organiser  

Year 4: Developmental and Clinical Neuroscience (co-organiser)  

Programme Organiser 

Year 4: Honours Neuroscience  

Exam Boards 

Year 4: Honours Neuroscience




Research activities & awards

  1. 10th European Congress of Neuropathology

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  2. Human cerebral small vessel disease: insight from experimental models

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk

  3. 5th Congress of The International Society for Vascular Behavioural and Cognitive Disorders (VAS-COG)

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

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