Paul Felts


Senior Lecturer
Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, University of Dundee, Dundee

Histology of the nervous system

Disorders of the nervous system are often devastating and, due to the complexity of the brain, are typically very difficult to treat. Detailed analysis of the type of damage done to the brain in disorders such as stroke or multiple sclerosis is fundamental, both to understanding how these diseases progress, and to finding new therapies to stop that progression. Careful examination of the way the brain and the spinal cord are affected is the focus of this research. For example, certain regions of the brain and spinal cord, termed white matter, function specifically to convey electrical signals from one place to another. Strokes can affect these areas because the blood flow in these regions is interrupted, causing these signals to be disrupted, often permanently. We are using a model of such strokes to get a detailed picture of the exact sorts of damage that occur in these regions of white matter. In the future, such an understanding may lead to methods to stop such damage from occurring.

This image, taken with an electron microscope, shows the damage done to one of the electrical conductors within the spinal cord when the blood supply to the region is interrupted, as would occur in a stroke.

Dr. Felts'  teaching is centred on the subjects of histology and neuroanatomy.  He is Module Leader for BS21007 Introductory  Anatomy, BS31002 Histology and BS32019 Advanced Histology and also provides lectures for medical and dental students in the areas of histology and neuroanatomy.  He supervises Honours, SSCs and MSc projects and is involved in the development of a Virtual Microscope online package, in collaboration with Prof. Jason Swedlow and staff in the Open Microscopy Environment group, for use in teaching histology and histopathology.