Dr Tom Matheson

Reader (Associate Professor) in Neurobiology

School/Department: Biological Sciences, School of



I completed my PhD in Zoology at the University of Canterbury New Zealand before moving to the University of Cambridge UK for postdoctoral research. While in Cambridge I obtained a Research Fellowship at Girton College and an Advanced Research Fellowship from the BBSRC. I moved to a lectureship at the University of Leicester and was promoted to Reader (Associate Professor). I obtained a Research Development Fellowship from the BBSRC ran a successful and well funded neurobiology research lab contributed to teaching spanning undergraduate and postgraduate training and engaged widely with a range of outreach. I have sat on numerous grant and fellowship panels for national and international funding agencies and sit on the Board of the National Centre for the Replacement Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs).


I have a broad range of interests in sensory-motor processing neuronal plasticity and biomechanics. I am interested in the interactions between organisms and their environment - including how organisms adapt to changes in the environment. Much of my work has used the locust Schistocerca gregaria but I have also worked with marine crustacea including the Antarctic isopod Glyptonotus antarcticus.


(0) Verlinden H, Sterck L, Li J, Li Z, Yssel A, Gansemans Y, Verdonck R, Holtof M, Song H, Behmer ST, Sword GA, Matheson T, Ott SR, Deforce D, Van Nieuwerburgh F, Van de Peer Y, Vanden Broeck J (2020) First draft genome assembly of the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria. F1000Research 9: 775.

Al-Zankana AFA, Matheson T and Harper DM (2020) How strong is the evidence - based on macroinvertebrate community responses - that river restoration works? Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology 20: 196 - 214.

Harischandra N, Clare AJ, Zakotnik J, Blackburn LML, Matheson T and Dürr V (2019) Evaluation of linear and non-linear activation dynamics models for insect muscle. PLoS Computational Biology 15 (10): e1007437. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007437

Calas-List D, Clare AJ, Komissarova A, Nielsen TA and Matheson T (2014) Motor inhibition affects the speed but not accuracy of aimed limb movements in an insect. Journal of Neuroscience 34: 7509 - 7521. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2200-13.2014

Ache JM and Matheson T (2013) Passive joint forces are tuned to limb use in insects and drive movements without motor activity. Current Biology 23: 1418-1426. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.06.024

Rogers SM, Krapp HG, Burrows M and Matheson T (2007) Compensatory plasticity at an identified synapse tunes a visuo-motor pathway. Journal of Neuroscience 27(17): 4621 - 4633. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4615-06.2007

Young JS, Peck LS and Matheson T (2006) The effects of temperature on walking and righting in temperate and Antarctic crustaceans. Polar Biology 29 (11): 978-987. DOI 10.1007/s00300-006-0140-7.

Zakotnik J, Matheson T and Dürr V (2006) Co-contraction and passive forces facilitate load compensation of aimed limb movements. Journal of Neuroscience 26(19): 4995-5007. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0161-06.2006

Rogers SM, Matheson T, Sasaki K, Kendrick K, Simpson SJ and Burrows M (2004) Substantial changes in central nervous system neurotransmitters and neuromodulators accompany phase change in the locusts. Journal of Experimental Biology 207: 3603-3617. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.01183.

Field LH and Matheson T (1998) Chordotonal organs of insects. Advances in Insect Physiology 27: 1-228.


at present


BSc Biological Sciences BSc

Biological Sciences (Zoology)

BSc Biological Sciences (Neuroscience)

BS2066 Behavioural Neurobiology (Convenor)

BS2077 Neurobiology and Animal Behaviour (Co-convenor)

BS3064 Comparative Neurobiology (Convenor)

BS3X00 Third Year Projects

BS4601 & PS7601 Advanced Research Methods

Press and media

Locust swarming insect movement Insect biomechanics


Board member NC3Rs

Training Fellowships Panel member NC3Rs

Grants Panel member BBSRC


Girton College Cambridge Research Fellow

BBSRC Advanced Research Fellow

BBSRC Research Development Fellow

Senoir Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 

Back to top
arrow-downarrow-down-3arrow-down-2arrow-down-4arrow-leftarrow-left-3arrow-left-2arrow-leftarrow-left-4arrow-rightarrow-right-3arrow-right-2arrow-right-4arrow-uparrow-up-3arrow-up-2arrow-up-4book-2bookbuildingscalendar-2calendarcirclecrosscross-2facebookfat-l-1fat-l-2filtershead-2headinstagraminstagraminstagramlinkedinlinkedinmenuMENUMenu Arrowminusminusrotator-pausec pausepinrotator-playplayc playplussearchsnapchatsnapchatthin-l-1thin-l-2ticktweettwittertwittertwitterwechatweiboweiboyoutubeyoutube