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Associate Professor Ruth Empson

Ruth EmpsonAssociate Professor Ruth Empson’s laboratory uses a combination of electrophysiology, live imaging and molecular approaches to better understand the consequences of modifications to neuronal circuits. She is interested in those circuits or networks within the cerebellum and motor cortex that contribute to our ability to make controlled movements. This research has relevance for highly debilitating and poorly treated movement disorders such as ataxia, motor neuron disease and spinal injury. She is also becoming increasingly interested in the contribution of the cerebellum to cognitive processes and its disruption in the poorly treated disorder, autism.


Find out more about Assoc Prof Empson’s research.

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Publications

Deeney, E. A., & Empson, R. M. (2019). Folia-specific vulnerability of the cerebellar climbing fibre synapse in a mouse model of human spinocerebellar ataxia type 1. New Zealand Medical Journal, 132(1499), (pp. 88-89). Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Roome, C. J., & Empson, R. M. (2018). Survival strategies for mouse cerebellar Purkinje neurons lacking PMCA2. Neuroscience Letters, 663, 25-28. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2017.09.045

Denny, P., McDonald, F., Empson, R., Kelly, P., & Petersen, A. (2018). Empirical support for a causal relationship between gamification and learning outcomes. Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 311. New York, NY: ACM. doi: 10.1145/3173574.3173885

Power, E. M., Potapov, D., Potapov, K., Knopfel, T., & Empson, R. M. (2018). Population plasticity at the cerebellar Parallel fibre to Purkinje neuron synapse. In K. Hillman (Ed.), Proceedings of the 36th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 49). AWCBR. Retrieved from https://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Deeney, E., & Empson, R. (2018). Short duration voluntary exercise does not alter cerebellar morphology or motor performance in a mouse model of human spinocerebellar ataxia type 1. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 48th Annual Meeting. 490.16/MM10. SfN. Retrieved from https://www.sfn.org

Chapter in Book - Research

Empson, R. M., Tantirigama, M. L. S., Oswald, M. J., Hughes, S. M., & Knöpfel, T. (2015). Combined immunochemistry and live imaging of fluorescent protein expressing neurons in mouse brain. In A. Merighi & L. Lossi (Eds.), Immunocytochemistry and related techniques. (pp. 357-373). New York: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-2313-7_19

Roome, C. J., & Empson, R. M. (2010). Assessment of the contribution of the plasma membrane calcium ATPase, PMCA, calcium transporter to synapse function using patch clamp electrophysiology and fast calcium imaging. In Q. Yan (Ed.), Membrane transporters in drug discovery and development: Methods and Protocols [Vol. 637]. (pp. 343-360). New York: Springer Science+Business Media. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60761-700-6_19

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Journal - Research Article

Clare, A. J., Wicky, H. E., Empson, R. M., & Hughes, S. M. (2017). RNA-sequencing analysis reveals a regulatory role for transcription factor Fezf2 in the mature motor cortex. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 10, 283. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2017.00283

Ibrahim, M. F., Power, E. M., Potapov, K., & Empson, R. M. (2017). Motor and cerebellar architectural abnormalities during the early progression of ataxia in a mouse model of SCA1 and how early prevention leads to a better outcome later in life. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 11, 292. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2017.00292

Power, E. M., English, N. A., & Empson, R. M. (2016). Are Type 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors a viable therapeutic target for the treatment of cerebellar ataxia? Journal of Physiology, 594(16), 4643-4652. doi: 10.1113/jp271153

Tantirigama, M. L. S., Oswald, M. J., Clare, A. J., Wicky, H. E., Day, R. C., Hughes, S. M., & Empson, R. M. (2016). Fezf2 expression in layer 5 projection neurons of mature mouse motor cortex. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 524(4), 829-845. doi: 10.1002/cne.23875

Antic, S. D., Empson, R. M., & Knöpfel, T. (2016). Voltage imaging to understand connections and functions of neuronal circuits. Journal of Neurophysiology, 116, 135-152. doi: 10.1152/jn.00226.2016

Power, E. M., Morales, A., & Empson, R. M. (2016). Prolonged type 1 metabotropic glutamate receptor dependent synaptic signaling contributes to spino-cerebellar ataxia type 1. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(18), 4910-4916. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.3953-15.2016

Madisen, L., Garner, A. R., Shimaoka, D., Chuong, A. S., Klapoetke, N. C., Li, L., … Empson, R. M., … Zeng, H. (2015). Transgenic mice for intersectional targeting of neural sensors and effectors with high specificity and performance. Neuron, 85(5), 942-958. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.02.022

Schoderboeck, L., Riad, S., Bokor, A. M., Wicky, H. E., Strauss, M., Bostina, M., Oswald, M. J., Empson, R. M., & Hughes, S. M. (2015). Chimeric rabies SADB19-VSVg-pseudotyped lentiviral vectors mediate long-range retrograde transduction from the mouse spinal cord. Gene Therapy, 22, 357-364. doi: 10.1038/gt.2015.3

Empson, R. M., Goulton, C., Scholtz, D., Gallero-Salas, Y., Zeng, H., & Knöpfel, T. (2015). Validation of optical voltage reporting by the genetically encoded voltage indicator VSFP-Butterfly from cortical layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in mouse brain slices. Physiological Reports, 3(7), e12468. doi: 10.14814/phy2.12468

Tantirigama, M. L. S., Oswald, M. J., Duynstee, C., Hughes, S. M., & Empson, R. M. (2014). Expression of the developmental transcription factor Fezf2 identifies a distinct subpopulation of layer 5 intratelencephalic-projection neurons in mature mouse motor cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 34(12), 4303-4308. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.3111-13.2014

Power, E. M., & Empson, R. M. (2014). Functional contributions of glutamate transporters at the parallel fibre to Purkinje neuron synapse: Relevance for the progression of cerebellar ataxia. Cerebellum & Ataxias, 1, 3. doi: 10.1186/2053-8871-1-3

Empson, R. M., Huang, H., Nagaraja, R. Y., Roome, C. J., & Knöpfel, T. (2013). Enhanced synaptic inhibition in the cerebellar cortex of the ataxic PMCA2-/- knockout mouse. Cerebellum, 12, 667-675. doi: 10.1007/s12311-013-0472-0

Roome, C. J., Power, E. M., & Empson, R. M. (2013). Transient reversal of the sodium/calcium exchanger boosts presynaptic calcium and synaptic transmission at a cerebellar synapse. Journal of Neurophysiology, 109(6), 1669-1680. doi: 10.1152/jn.00854.2012

Roome, C. J., & Empson, R. M. (2013). The contribution of the sodium-calcium exchanger (NCX) and plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPase (PMCA) to cerebellar synapse function. Advances in Experimental Medicine & Biology, 961, 251-263. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-4756-6_21

Roome, C. J., Knöpfel, T., & Empson, R. M. (2013). Functional contributions of the plasma membrane calcium ATPase and the sodium—calcium exchanger at mouse parallel fibre to Purkinje neuron synapses. Pflügers Archiv: European Journal of Physiology, 465(2), 319-331. doi: 10.1007/s00424-012-1172-1

Oswald, M. J., Tantirigama, M. L. S., Sonntag, I., Hughes, S. M., & Empson, R. M. (2013). Diversity of layer 5 projection neurons in the mouse motor cortex. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 7, 174. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2013.00174

Russell, C. L., Semerdjieva, S., Empson, R. M., Austen, B. M., Beesley, P. W., & Alifragis, P. (2012). Amyloid-β acts as a regulator of neurotransmitter release disrupting the interaction between synaptophysin and VAMP2. PLoS ONE, 7(8), e43201. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043201

Empson, R. M., & Knöpfel, T. (2012). Functional integration of calcium regulatory mechanisms at Purkinje neuron synapses. Cerebellum, 11(3), 640-650. doi: 10.1007/s12311-010-0185-6

Empson, R. M., Akemann, W., & Knöpfel, T. (2010). The role of the calcium transporter protein plasma membrane calcium ATPase PMCA2 in cerebellar Purkinje neuron function. Functional Neurology, 25(3), 153-163.

Empson, R. M., Turner, P. R., Nagaraja, R. Y., Beesley, P. W., & Knöpfel, T. (2010). Reduced expression of the Ca2+ transporter protein PMCA2 slows Ca2+ dynamics in mouse cerebellar Purkinje neurons and alters the precision of motor coordination. Journal of Physiology, 588(6), 907-922. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2009.182196

Huang, H., Nagaraja, R. Y., Garside, M. L., Akemann, W., Knöpfel, T., & Empson, R. M. (2010). Contribution of plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPase to cerebellar synapse function. World Journal of Biological Chemistry, 1(5), 95-102. doi: 10.4331/wjbc.v1.i5.95

Garside, M. L., Turner, P. R., Austen, B., Strehler, E. E., Beesley, P. W., & Empson, R. M. (2009). Molecular interactions of the plasma membrane calcium ATPase 2 at pre- and post-synaptic sites in rat cerebellum. Neuroscience, 162(2), 383-395. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.04.059

Jensen, T. P., Buckby, L. E., & Empson, R. M. (2009). Reduced expression of the "fast" calcium transporter PMCA2a during homeostatic plasticity. Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience, 41(3), 364-372. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2009.04.011

Empson, R. M., Garside, M. L., & Knöpfel, T. (2007). Plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPase 2 contributes to short-term synapse plasticity at the parallel fiber to Purkinje neuron synapse. Journal of Neuroscience, 27(14), 3753-3758.

Jensen, T. P., Filoteo, A. G., Knopfel, T., & Empson, R. M. (2007). Presynaptic plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPase isoform 2a regulates excitatory synaptic transmission in rat hippocampal CA3. Journal of Physiology, 579(1), 85-99. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2006.123901

Empson, R. M., Buckby, L. E., Kraus, M., Bates, K. J., Crompton, M. R., Gundelfinger, E. D., & Beesley, P. W. (2006). The cell adhesion molecule neuroplastin-65 inhibits hippocampal long-term potentiation via a mitogen-activated protein kinase p38-dependent reduction in surface expression of GluR1-containing glutamate receptors. Journal of Neurochemistry, 99(3), 850-860. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2006.04123.x

Buckby, L. E., Jensen, T. P., Smith, P. J. E., & Empson, R. M. (2006). Network stability through homeostatic scaling of excitatory and inhibitory synapses following inactivity in CA3 of rat organotypic hippocampal slice cultures. Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience, 31, 805-816. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2006.01.009

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Journal - Research Other

Roome, C. J., & Empson, R. M. (2018). Survival strategies for mouse cerebellar Purkinje neurons lacking PMCA2. Neuroscience Letters, 663, 25-28. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2017.09.045

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Denny, P., McDonald, F., Empson, R., Kelly, P., & Petersen, A. (2018). Empirical support for a causal relationship between gamification and learning outcomes. Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 311. New York, NY: ACM. doi: 10.1145/3173574.3173885

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Deeney, E. A., & Empson, R. M. (2019). Folia-specific vulnerability of the cerebellar climbing fibre synapse in a mouse model of human spinocerebellar ataxia type 1. New Zealand Medical Journal, 132(1499), (pp. 88-89). Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Power, E. M., Potapov, D., Potapov, K., Knopfel, T., & Empson, R. M. (2018). Population plasticity at the cerebellar Parallel fibre to Purkinje neuron synapse. In K. Hillman (Ed.), Proceedings of the 36th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 49). AWCBR. Retrieved from https://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Deeney, E., & Empson, R. (2018). Short duration voluntary exercise does not alter cerebellar morphology or motor performance in a mouse model of human spinocerebellar ataxia type 1. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 48th Annual Meeting. 490.16/MM10. SfN. Retrieved from https://www.sfn.org

Deeney, E. A., Power, E. M., Heyward, P. M., & Empson, R. M. (2017). Does voluntary exercise improve motor performance and/or cerebellar architecture in SCA1 moderately ataxic mice. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 35th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 50). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/index.html

Ibrahim, M. F., Power, E. M., & Empson, R. M. (2017). Repression of mutant ataxin-1 gene during early postnatal development minimises the progression of mouse Spino-cerebellar ataxia type 1. New Zealand Medical Journal, 130(1460), (pp. 96). Retrieved from http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Clare, A. J., Wicky, H. E., Dearden, P. K., Empson, R. M., & Hughes, S. M. (2017). Developmentally important transcription factor Fezf2 has a molecular and functional role in the mature brain. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Genetics Society of Australasia (GSA) with the New Zealand Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (NZSBMB). 693. Retrieved from http://gen2017.w.events4you.currinda.com

Ganesh, M., Clare, A., Dragunow, M., Hughes, S., Clarkson, A., & Empson, R. (2017). Pericyte therapeutics to repair the stroke-lesioned brain. Proceedings of the University of Otago Student Research Symposium: Te Wānaka Rakahau: Ākoka. (pp. 28). Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/graduate-research/scholarships/otago643219.html

Clare, A. J., Day, R. C., Empson, R. M., & Hughes, S. M. (2017). Transcriptome profiling of layer 5 intratelencephalic-projection neurons in the mature mouse motor cortex. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 35th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 37). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/index.html

Ibrahim, M. F., & Empson, R. M. (2017). Enhanced KCC2 expression in the cerebellar molecular layer in a mouse model of spinocerebellar ataxia type 1. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 35th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 29). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/index.html

Power, E. M., Potapov, D., Knopfel, T., Clarkson, A., & Empson, R. M. (2017). Mesoscopic voltage imaging of neuronal activity in mice using genetically encoded voltage indicators (GEVI). In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 35th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 32). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/index.html

Ganesh, M., Clare, A., Dragunow, M., Hughes, S., Clarkson, A., & Empson, R. (2017). Pericyte therapeutics to repair the stroke-lesioned brain. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 35th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 51). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/index.html

Jimenez-Martin, J., Potapov, D., & Empson, R. M. (2017). Establishing reliable methods to assess motor skill learning and motor performance in mice. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 35th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 50). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/index.html

Song, C., Power, E., Potapov, K., Piscopo, D. M., Niell, C., Empson, R. M., & Knopfel, T. (2016). Genetically encoded voltage indicator imaging of GABAergic cell classes in the mouse brain. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 46th Annual Meeting. 580.02. SfN. Retrieved from https://www.sfn.org/

Clare, A. J., Day, R. C., Empson, R. M., & Hughes, S. M. (2016). Transcriptome profiling of Fezf2 expressing intratelencephalic projection neurons in the mature mouse motor cortex. Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB): Signalling Pathways in Development, Disease and Aging. (pp. 78). Retrieved from http://www.iubmb2016.org

Ibrahim, M. F., Power, E. M., & Empson, R. M. (2016). Doxycycline mediated gene repression of mutant ataxin-1 during early postnatal development minimises the progression of mouse spino-cerebellar ataxia type 1. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 34th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 33). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Power, E. M., Gowing, E. K., Knöpfel, T., Clarkson, A. N., & Empson, R. M. (2016). Regional changes in mouse motor cortex excitability after focal stroke. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 34th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 59). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Power, E., Morales, A., & Empson, R. (2016). Altered metabotropic glutamate receptor activity in early spinocerebellar ataxia type 1. New Zealand Medical Journal, 129(1442), (pp. 98). Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Power, E. M., Ibrahim, M. F., & Empson, R. M. (2016). Impact of ataxin-1 expression during postnatal cerebellar Purkinje neuron development and the role of metabotropic glutamate receptor type 1 for progression of spinocerebellar ataxia type 1. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 46th Annual Meeting. 43.12/M4. SfN. Retrieved from https://www.sfn.org/

Empson, R., Power, E., & Morales, A. (2015). Moderation of enhanced MGLUR1 mediated synaptic signalling restores motor learning in a mouse model of human spino-cerebellar ataxia. Journal of Neurochemistry, 134(Suppl. 1), (pp. 197). doi: 10.1111/jnc.13188

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