Peter J Magill

Peter J Magill

Supernumerary Fellow in Neurobiology; Professor of Neurobiology; MRC Unit Deputy Director; MRC Programme Leader

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I teach, tutor and mentor undergraduate and graduate students studying neuroscience. I also supervise students for lab-based research projects.


The overall goal of my group’s research is to provide detailed explanations of how brain circuit organisation supports normal and impaired behaviours. Focusing on a brain region called the basal ganglia, we monitor and manipulate different types of nerve cell to provide new insights into how their host networks operate. In taking advantage of the new understanding gained, we use specialised nerve cell types as entry points for novel therapeutic interventions that are designed to correct the brain circuit disorganisation and behavioural difficulties that arise in disease.

We couple novel and advanced analytical techniques with experimental interventions that probe causal interactions between specified circuit elements with high spatiotemporal precision. Our experiments centre on the use of wild type and genetically-altered rodents with intact or comprised midbrain dopamine cells, the readouts from which straddle multiple levels of function including molecular/genetic, structural, electrophysiological and behavioural.

Selected Publications

Sharott A, Vinciati F, Nakamura KC, Magill PJ. (2017) A population of indirect pathway striatal projection neurons is selectively entrained to Parkinsonian beta oscillations. Journal of Neuroscience 37:10022.

Dodson PD, Dreyer JK, Jennings KA, Syed EC, Wade-Martins R, Cragg SJ, Bolam JP, Magill PJ. (2016) Representation of spontaneous movement by dopaminergic neurons is cell-type selective and disrupted in Parkinsonism. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA.113:E2180.

Garas FN, Shah RS, Kormann E, Doig NM, Vinciati F, Nakamura KC, Dorst MC, Smith Y, Magill PJ*, Sharott A.* (2016) Secretagogin expression delineates functionally-specialized populations of striatal parvalbumin-containing interneurons. eLife 5:e16088.

Syed EC, Grima LL, Magill PJ, Bogacz R, Brown P, Walton ME. (2016) Action initiation shapes mesolimbic dopamine encoding of future rewards. Nature Neuroscience 19:34.

Dodson PD, Larvin JT, Duffell JM, Garas FN, Doig NM, Kessaris N, Duguid IC, Bogacz R, Butt SJ, Magill PJ. (2015) Distinct developmental origins manifest in the specialized encoding of movement by adult neurons of the external globus pallidus. Neuron86:501.

Abdi A, Mallet N, Mohamed FY, Sharott A, Dodson PD, Nakamura KC, Suri S, Avery SV, Larvin JT, Garas FN, Garas SN, Vinciati F, Morin S, Bezard E, Baufreton J, Magill PJ. (2015) Prototypic and arkypallidal neurons in the dopamine-intact external globus pallidus. Journal of Neuroscience 35:6667.

Nakamura KC, Sharott A, Magill PJ. (2014) Temporal coupling with cortex distinguishes spontaneous neuronal activities in identified basal ganglia-recipient and cerebellar-recipient zones of the motor thalamus. Cerebral Cortex 24:81.

Mallet N, Micklem BR, Henny P, Brown MT, Williams C, Bolam JP, Nakamura KC, Magill PJ. (2012) Dichotomous organization of the external globus pallidus. Neuron 74:1075.

Bienvenu TC, Busti D, Magill PJ, Ferraguti F, Capogna M. (2012) Cell-type-specific recruitment of amygdala interneurons to hippocampal theta rhythm and noxious stimuli in vivo. Neuron 74:1059.

Sharott A, Doig NM, Mallet N, Magill PJ. (2012) Relationships between the firing of identified striatal interneurons and spontaneous and driven cortical activities in vivo. Journal of Neuroscience 32:13221.

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