The Murray Lab is currently comprised of one principal investigator, two research fellows, four PhD students, and two rotating students.
I completed my PhD in Derryck Shewan's laboratory at the University of Aberdeen, working on intracellular signalling pathways that mediate neuronal axon growth and guidance. I went on to complete a postdoc with Peer Wulff and Bill Wisden where I examined the role of parvalbumin-positive interneurons of the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex in spatial memory, as well as developing virus-based techniques to target these circuits.
I then moved to New York for a postdoc with Tom Jessell at Columbia University. Here I started working on the vestibular system and the sensory-motor circuits that generate the corrective motor responses that allow us to maintain our balance.
I started my own group at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre in 2016. Our lab is broadly interested in probing the balance and postural control system in order to understand how the nervous system generates flexible motor behaviour.
My PhD was completed at The University of Sydney, where I used behavioural techniques to characterise vestibular contributions to motor performance, and whole-cell electrophysiology to characterise vestibular hair cells and calyceal primary afferent endings during ageing.
I am interested in our sense of balance and the co-operation of sensory modalities involved when ensuring and improving equilibrium during stationary postures and movement. I joined the Murray lab as a postdoc in 2016, where I am studying the modulation of sensory information and its importance in motor control. My focus is the efferent vestibular system, which has been shown to modulate incoming vestibular information. I aim to improve our understanding of its role in movement.
I completed my PhD at the University of Sydney in 2018 where I worked on characterising the electrophysiological properties of mouse efferent vestibular nucleus neurons, followed by investigating their monosynaptic circuitry using rabies virus tracing technologies. For this latter half of my project, I collaborated closely with Dr. Andrew Murray during his postdoc at the Jessell Lab, as well as in his own lab.
I am interested in understanding context dependent vestibulo-motor coordination, and also advancing current viral tracing technologies for mapping specific neural circuits. I currently investigates these as a postdoc in the Murray Lab, alongside duties as a lab manager.
ALBA GUIJARRO BELMAR
I completed my PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen in 2019 where I worked on biomaterial-based combinatorial approach to promote axon regeneration and functional locomotor recovery after spinal cord injury using relevant in vitro, ex vivo and animal models.
I joined the Murray Lab in 2019 as a Research Fellow working jointly with the Brownstone Lab at the Institute of Neurology, UCL. My project is focused on developing new viral constructs for the efficient infection of spinal neurons, as well as assaying the effect of different genes on motor activity, both in vitro and in vivo.
I gained my BSc in Biomedical Science from a joint study at King's College London and the Karolinska Institute, in 2014.
After brief involvements in neurodegenerative, and immunology research labs I have developed a keen interest in the field of systems neuroscience and joined the Murray lab as a technician in May 2016 as a way of pursuing this before enrolling as a PhD candidate in 2017.
Within the Murray lab, I have worked on developing our current viral technologies and assisted the work of Dr. Reader-Harris in assessing the effect of context on vestibular responses. I'm interested in this big question of how our perception of our senses can be modulated by the surroundings we find ourselves in.
I completed my MSc in Neuroscience and Education at Columbia University, in 2015. After graduating I was hired as the lab manager and technician in Dr Robert Froemke’s lab at New York University Langone Medical Centre. My research there included, examining the biochemistry and neural circuitry of oxytocin receptors in the mouse brain, and sucrose sensing by food-restricted mice.
I am interested in figuring out the neural circuitry of sensory guided motor learning. I joined the Murray lab in September 2017 and am currently working on developing a behavioural task that will provide more information about how postural adjustments occur in pre-emptive motor movements, after multisensory integration. Eventually we would like to develop an anatomical map of the neural circuitry that enables these adjustments.
Following graduating with a BSc in Psychology from the University of Birmingham, I completed my MSc in Neuroscience at University College London (UCL) in 2018. During my masters I worked on a project characterising the efficacy of different optogenetic tools using a zebrafish model in Dr Isaac Bianco’s lab. Here I developed an interest in the applications of optical tools, particularly in the importance of targeting specific populations within the motor system.
I joined the Murray Lab in 2019 as a PhD student on the UCL Neuroscience Wellcome Trust funded program. Here, I investigate the neural circuitry involved in sensory guided predictive movements. Using predictive postural adjustments in mice as a model, I will study both the anatomy and the function of neural pathways involved in these movements. In particular, I will use sophisticated viral strategies to achieve a high degree of specificity in the neural populations I target in these experiments. Ultimately, I hope to help elucidate the role of exclusively posture related descending populations in the planning and adaptation of predictive postural movements.
I graduated from MIT with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. As a Marshall Scholar, I completed an MPhil in Engineering at Cambridge and an MSc in Applied Math at Imperial. Over the course of this training, I worked on projects dealing with experimental fluid mechanics, theoretical origami and network control theory.
In the Murray Lab, I am working to broaden our understanding of sensorimotor control and learning in humans. I am building an experimental virtual environment to assess performance in electromyography-driven tasks which require a high level of dexterity. Ultimately, I aim to explore the uniquely human ability to generalise and transfer motor output to novel tasks and environments. I seek knowledge about questions like: what strategies do we use to explore novel sensorimotor mappings? What biases do humans display when learning a novel task? On what timescale can we adapt our muscle activities to a particular task?
I obtained an MSci Neuroscience degree from University College London. My interest in stereotyped motor behaviours was initially shaped by a project on aversive olfactory integration in fruit flies with Dr Greg Jefferis as part of the Amgen Scholars Programme. For my degree, I worked with Dr Beverley Clark and Prof. Michael Häusser to study the interplay between cerebellar and neocortical inputs in the mouse motor thalamus, using optogenetics and ex-vivo patch-clamp.
In the Murray lab, I aim to combine electromyographic and neural recordings to investigate the generation of distinct locomotor gaits, and the interdependence between gait and speed. More broadly, I am keen on understanding how neuromuscular dynamics give rise to flexible, interchangeable and seamlessly executable motor programs, of which the various modes of mammalian locomotion are a prime example.
EMILY READER-HARRIS (Post-doc)
During my PhD at the University of St Andrews, I utilised electrophysiological recordings to investigate the neural networks underlying walking in mice. In particular, I looked at cholinergic and purinergic modulation of motor systems. I then went on to complete a postdoc, also at the University of St Andrews, investigating how dopamine receptor activation during development affects zebrafish swimming.
I am interested in all aspects of motor control and the neuronal circuitry underlying motor systems. I joined the Murray laboratory in March 2016, and my current research aims to increase our understanding of the networks of neurons in the vestibular system which control balance and posture. I look at the anatomy, physiology and behavioural output of vestibular networks in mice in order to learn about the context-dependency of vestibular responses.