Sheffield Institute for
Translational Neuroscience

Dr Jon Wood PhD

Non-Clinical Lecturer in Neuroscience

Research Interests

Current research in Dr Wood’s group is focused on the development of myelinating glial cells in the zebrafish embryo and the molecular mechanisms underlying oligodendrocyte dysfunction in ALS.

Current Projects

The role of DISC1 in oligodendrocyte development (in collaboration with Dr Vincent Cunliffe, Dept. of Biomedical Science, Dr Sudipto Roy, IMCB, Singapore and Professor Christopher Ross, JHMI, Baltimore)

Oligodendrocyte dysfunction in ALS (in collaboration with Dr Robin Highley, SITraN; funded by the Pathological Society)

Neurobiology of the GLE1 mRNA exporter (in collaboration with Professor Mimoun Azzouz and Dr Guillaume Hautbergue, both SITraN)

The effects of stress on CNS development and behaviour (in collaboration with Dr Penny Watt, Animal & Plant Sciences and Professor Marysia Placzek, Dept. of Biomedical Science)

Modelling the blood-brain barrier (in collaboration with Professor Mike Holcombe, Dept. of Computer Science and Professor Giuseppe Battaglia, UCL)


Dr Wood has authored over 30 peer-reviewed publications of original research.

Key Publications

Boyd, P.J., Cunliffe, V.T., Roy, S. & Wood, J.D. (2015). Sonic hedgehog functions upstream of disrupted-in-schizophrenia 1 (disc1): Implications for mental illness. Biology Open (in press).

Highley, J.R., Lorente Pons, A., Cooper-Knock, J., Wharton, S.B., Ince, P.G., Shaw, P.J., Wood, J.D. & Kirby, J. (2015). Motor neurone disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis associated with intermediate-length CAG repeat expansions in Ataxin-2 does not have 1C2-positive polyglutamine inclusions. Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology doi: 10.1111/nan.12254.

Fullstone, G., Wood, J., Holcombe, M. & Battaglia, G. (2015). Modelling the transport of nanoparticles under blood flow using an agent-based approach. Scientific Reports 5:10649.

Butler, R., Wood, J.D., Landers, J.A. & Cunliffe, V.T. (2010). Genetic and chemical modulation of Spastin-dependent axon outgrowth in zebrafish embryos indicates a role for impaired microtubule dynamics in Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia. Disease Models and Mechanisms Abstract

Wood, J.D., Bonath, F., Kumar, S., Ross, C.A. & Cunliffe, V.T. (2009). Disrupted-in-schizophrenia 1 and neuregulin 1 are required for the specification of oligodendrocytes and neurones in the zebrafish brain. Human Molecular Genetics 18, 391-404. Abstract

Sato, T., Miura, M., Yamada, M., Yoshida, T., Wood, J.D., Yazawa, I., Masuda, M., Suzuki, T., Shin, R.-M., Yau, H.-J., Liu, F.-C., Shimohata, T., Igarashi, S., Onodera, O., Ross, C.A., Katsuki, M., Takahashi, H., Kano, M., Aosaki, T. & Tsuji, S. (2009). Severe neurological phenotypes of Q129 DRPLA transgenic mice serendipitously created by en masse expansion of CAG repeats in Q76 DRPLA mice. Human Molecular Genetics 18, 723-736. Abstract

Kasher, P.R., De Vos, K.J., Wharton, S.B., Manser, C., Bennett, E.J., Bingley, M., Wood, J.D., Milner, R., McDermott, C.J., Miller, C.C.J., Shaw, P.J. & Grierson, A.J. (2009). Direct evidence for axonal transport defects in a novel mouse model of mutant spastin-induced hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) and human HSP patients. Journal of Neurochemistry 110, 34-44 Abstract

Wood, J.D., Landers, J.A., Bingley, M., McDermott, C.J., Thomas-McArthur, V.T., Gleadall, L.J., Shaw, P.J. & Cunliffe, V.T. (2006). The microtubule-severing protein spastin is required for motor axon outgrowth in the zebrafish embryo. Human Molecular Genetics 15, 2763-2771. Abstract.

Professional Activities

Associate member, MRC Centre for Developmental and Biomedical Genetics, University of Sheffield

Dr Wood is a reviewer for numerous journals and for multiple grant awarding bodies.


Dr Wood obtained a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Bristol in 1993. He undertook postdoctoral training at the University of Wales College of Medicine from 1993–1996, working on the neurobiology of Huntington’s disease with Dr Lesley Jones and Professor Peter Harper. In 1996 he was awarded an MRC International Travelling Fellowship, which was held in the laboratory of Professor Christopher Ross at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, USA. He undertook further postdoctoral work on the molecular pathogenesis of dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) in the Ross laboratory from 1997-2001 and discovered that nuclear accumulation of mutant Atrophin-1 is an early step in the pathobiology of DRPLA (Schilling et al., 1999; Yamada et al., 2001), and that Atrophin-1 functions as a transcriptional repressor (Wood et al., 2000). He was appointed to a non-clinical lectureship in Neuroscience at the University of Sheffield in 2001.

Teaching Interests

Dr Wood plays a prominent role in the delivery of taught postgraduate programmes in the Medical School:

Contact Details

University of Sheffield
Academic Neurology Unit
Department of Neuroscience
Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience
Room B28
385a Glossop Road
S10 2HQ

T: +44 (0)114 22 22243
F: +44 (0)114 22 22290