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Dr Susan Chalmers

Strathclyde Chancellor'S Fellow

Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Personal statement

I am a Chancellors Research Fellow, examining the role of mitochondria in neurodegeneration and age-associated decline of the cerebrovasculature.


Mitochondria structure and position in the local control of calcium signals in smooth muscle cells
McCarron John G., Saunter Christopher, Wilson Calum, Girkin John M., Chalmers Susan
Signal Transduction and Smooth MuscleSignal Transduction and Smooth Muscle, (2018)
RPGR protein complex regulates proteasome activity and mediates store-operated calcium entry
Patnaik Sarita Rani, Zhang Xun, Biswas Lincoln, Akhtar Saeed, Zhou Xinzhi, Kusuluri Deva Krupakar, Reilly James, May-Simera Helen, Chalmers Susan, McCarron John G., Shu Xinhua
Oncotarget Vol 9, pp. 23183-23197, (2018)
Age decreases mitochondrial motility and increases mitochondrial size in vascular smooth muscle : Smooth muscle mitochondrial shape and motility changes with age
Chalmers Susan, Saunter Christopher, Girkin John M., McCarron John G.
Journal of Physiology Vol 594, pp. 4283–4295, (2016)
Calcium mobilization via intracellular ion channels, store organization and mitochondria in smooth muscle
McCarron John G., Chalmers Susan, Wilson Calum, Sandison Mairi E.
Vascular Ion Channels in Physiology and DiseaseVascular Ion Channels in Physiology and Disease, (2016)
Synthesis of an azido-tagged low affinity ratiometric calcium sensor
Caldwell Stuart T., Cairns Andrew G., Olson Marnie, Chalmers Susan, Sandison Mairi, Mullen William, McCarron John G., Hartley Richard C.
Tetrahedron Vol 71, pp. 9571–9578, (2015)
Flicker-assisted localization microscopy reveals altered mitochondrial architecture in hypertension
Chalmers Susan, Saunter Christopher D., Girkin John M., McCarron John G.
Scientific Reports Vol 5, (2015)

more publications


Current PhD studentship (funded for UK or EU students; covering full tuition fees and a tax free stipend for 3 years), deadline 30 May 2018. Application via CV plus cover letter to or imminently via

Alzheimer’s-associated amyloid or diabetic-like hyperglycaemia each impede mitochondrial motility, potentially altering neuronal synaptic function due to changes such as localised ATP supply or calcium buffering. Does the combination of hyperglycaemia and amyloid thus pre-dispose neurons to dysfunction and degeneration?


  1.  investigate whether exposure of primary neuronal cultures to amyloid plus hyperglycaemia (glucose oscillations) additively affect mitochondrial motility
  2. quantify the effect of aberrant mitochondrial motility on neuronal function, particularly synaptic activity
  3. examine whether neuroprotection is afforded by modulation of mitochondria


Project Area: Neuroscience; Fluorescence Microscopy; Alzheimer’s Disease; Mitochondrial Physiology; Calcium Signalling


Techniques to be used:

  • high-resolution live-cell fluorescence imaging of dynamic organelle and cell architecture
  • primary neuronal cell culture
  • electrophysiology and calcium imaging


Research interests

My primary research interest is in mitochondria, with a particular focus on the involvement of these small organelles with calcium signalling processes and the changes associated with age and diseases. I use high-speed and timelapse fluorescence imaging to visualise and modulate mitochondria and calcium signals within live cells and tissue. 

Professional activities

Amyloid-β oligomers or hyperglycaemia each reduce mitochondrial motility in mature hippocampal cells
Hyperglycaemia-induced alterations in neuronal mitochondrial dynamics

more professional activities


Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP 2016-2017 University of Strathclyde) | Kim, So Jeong
Chalmers, Susan (Principal Investigator) Sandison, Mairi (Co-investigator) Kim, So Jeong (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2016 - 01-Oct-2019
Targeting mitochondria to protect the brain: visualising the influence of diet and exercise in brain slice models of neurodegeneration
Chalmers, Susan (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Jun-2016 - 31-May-2017
The influence of exercise on age-associated alterations in neuronal, astrocytic and cerebrovascular calcium signalling and mitochondrial physiology
Chalmers, Susan (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2015 - 30-Sep-2016
A neuroprotective diet? Imaging diet-induced mitochondrial and cellular perturbations in brain slice neurovascular junctions
Chalmers, Susan (Principal Investigator)
Period 04-Jan-2016 - 03-Jan-2017
Imaging changes in mitochondrial architecture and mobility in vascular disease
McCarron, John (Principal Investigator) Chalmers, Susan (Co-investigator) Coats, Paul (Co-investigator)
Period 06-Feb-2012 - 30-Jul-2015

more projects


Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
Hamnett Wing John Arbuthnott Building

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