Dr Ke Ning


Neuroscience, School of Medicine and Population Health

Non-clinical Senior Lecturer in Translational Neuroscience

+44 114 222 2245
+44 114 222 2278 (Administrator: Heather Cartledge)

Full contact details

Dr Ke Ning
Neuroscience, School of Medicine and Population Health
Room B46
Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN)
385a Glossop Road
S10 2HQ

I graduated in Medicine from First Military Medical University (Southern Medical University) in China in 1985. I undertook my Specialist Training in Neurosurgery at Sun Yatsen University of Medical Science in China and got a M.Sc in Neurosurgery in 1991.

I obtained my PhD in neuroscience at the Third Military Medical University in China In 1996 and was promoted to an associate professor in neurosurgery at Southern Medical University in China in 1997.

Since 1999, I have undertaken full time research in neuroscience in the USA, Canada and the UK. I joined the University of Sheffield as a Lecturer in Translational neuroscience in 2006 and was promoted to a Senior Lecturer in Translational Neuroscience in 2011.

I have been closely involved in translational neuroscience research and teaching in motor neuron diseases.

Research interests

The focus of my research is the use of viral vector-mediated gene therapy and stem cell strategies to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). ALS/MND is a common adult onset neurodegenerative disease characterised by progressive degeneration of motor neurones in the brainstem and spinal cord.

There is no effective treatment or cure for MND/ALS and other neurodegenerative disorders. Gene therapy approaches offer a promising strategy for delivery of genes to enhance motor neuron survival. New approaches for the treatment of neurological disorders have been developed by using lentiviruses and other viruses (Adeno-associate virus AAV6, AAV9 and so on).

These vectors have been refined to a very high safety and efficiency levels. Lentiviruses are particularly advantageous for use in gene transfer to the nervous system. Numerous animal studies have now been undertaken with these vectors and correction of disease models has been obtained.

Recent studies have demonstrated very good efficacy of Lentiviral- or AAV9-mediated gene therapy approaches in ALS, SMA and other degenerative disorders. These studies provide great optimism for the future utility of lentiviral or AAV gene delivery as a therapeutic strategy for neurodegenerative diseases.

  • SMA Trust Project
  • MRC Project
  • MNDA Project

Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers

  • Bhargava A, Ramesh T, Shaw PJ & Ning K (2022) Identification of Arfaptin-2 as a Potential Therapeutic Target for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Using iPSC-Derived Motor Neurons and Zebrafish as Models of ALS. MOLECULAR THERAPY, Vol. 30(4) (pp 298-299) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bradley S, Godena VK, Azzouz M & Ning K (2019) Spinal muscular atrophy: The combined effect of coSMN expression and PTEN depletion in vitro. HUMAN GENE THERAPY, Vol. 30(8) (pp A20-A20) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ning K, Godena VK, Souza CDS, Arya S, Gillingwater TH, Talbot K & Azzouz M (2019) PTEN as therapeutic target for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). HUMAN GENE THERAPY, Vol. 30(8) (pp A26-A26) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ren J, Ning K & Xu J (2019) Establishing cerebral organoids as models for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). HUMAN GENE THERAPY, Vol. 30(8) (pp A28-A28) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Mohammedeid A, Bhargava A, Godena VK, Kong S, Tennore R, Grierson AJ, Xu J, Shaw PJ, Azzouz M & Ning K (2019) Arfaptin-2 as a therapeutic target for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). HUMAN GENE THERAPY, Vol. 30(8) (pp A19-A20) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ciervo Y, Coldicott I, Myszczynska M, Stopford M, Allen C, Grierson A, Xu J, Ferraiuolo L, Ning K, Shaw PJ & Mead RJ (2019) Adipose derived stem cells for cell therapy of motor neuron disease (MND). HUMAN GENE THERAPY, Vol. 30(8) (pp A16-A16) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Godena V, Arya S, Gillingwater TH, Hammond S, Bowerman M, Wood M, Talbot K, Azzouz M & Ning K (2019) A stem cell model of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA): Assessing combinatorial drug therapies. HUMAN GENE THERAPY, Vol. 30(8) (pp A12-A13) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Alsomali N, Seytanoglu A, Valori C, Kim HR, Ning K, Ramesh T, Sharrack B, Wood JD & Azzouz M (2014) Deficiency in Gle1, an mRNA export mediator, inhibits Schwann cell development in the zebrafish embryo. FEBS JOURNAL, Vol. 281 (pp 771-771) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Mohammedeid A, Ning K, Kong SC, Azzouz M & Grierson A (2014) Regulation of protein aggregation by Arfaptin2 in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. HUMAN GENE THERAPY, Vol. 25(5) (pp A14-A14) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Little D, Valori C, Wyles M, Shaw P, Azzouz M & Ning K (2013) Systemic delivery of scAAV9 expressing PTEN siRNA prolongs survival in a model of spinal muscular atrophy. HUMAN GENE THERAPY, Vol. 24(5) (pp A27-A27) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Binny C, Karyka E, Ning K, Bennett E, Ince P, Shaw P & Azzouz M (2013) Efficient scAAV9-mediated delivery of SMN to motor neurons in neonatal and juvenile mice. HUMAN GENE THERAPY, Vol. 24(5) (pp A38-A38) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Valori CF, Ning K, Wyles M, Mead RJ, Grierson AJ, Shaw PJ & Azzouz M (2010) Systemic delivery of scAAV9 expressing SMN prolongs survival in a mouse model of SMA. HUMAN GENE THERAPY, Vol. 21(10) (pp 1424-1425) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Azzouz M, Valori C, Ning K & Wyles M (2010) Current Advances in Gene Therapy for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. HUMAN GENE THERAPY, Vol. 21(10) (pp 1388-1389) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Valori C, Ning K, Wyles M & Azzouz M (2010) Complete Rescue of SMA Mouse Model by Systemic Delivery of scAAV9 Mediating SMN Replacement. NEUROLOGY, Vol. 74(9) (pp A287-A287) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Nanou A, Higginbottom A, Valori C, Wyles M, Ning K, Shaw P & Azzouz M (2010) Oxidative Stress as Target for Neuroprotection in Experimental Models of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). NEUROLOGY, Vol. 74(9) (pp A436-A436) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ning K, Drepper C, Ismail A, Valori CF, Wyles M, Higginbottom A, Herrmann T, Shaw P, Sharrack B, Sendtner M & Azzouz M (2010) PTEN Depletion Rescues the beta-Actin Deficit in Axonal Growth Cones in Motoneurons from a Mouse Model of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. NEUROLOGY, Vol. 74(9) (pp A489-A489) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Goodhead LH, Ning K, Azzouz M, Kingsman SM, Mitrophanous KA & Ralph GS (2008) Optimizing EIAV vectors and delivery routes for ALS gene therapy. HUMAN GENE THERAPY, Vol. 19(4) (pp 405-405) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ning K & Wan Q (2007) Regulation of NMDA receptors by the phosphatase PTEN. JOURNAL OF NEUROCHEMISTRY, Vol. 102 (pp 147-147) RIS download Bibtex download
  • El-Hayek YH, Gomez G, Ning K, Liao MX & Wan Q (2006) Regulation of neuronal migration by direct-current electrical fields in the developing brain. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL NEUROSCIENCE, Vol. 24(8) (pp 590-591) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ning K, Pei L, Liao M, Liu B, Zhang Y, Jiang W, Mielke JG, Li L, Chen YH, El-Hayek YH , Fehlings MG et al (2004) Dual neuroprotective signaling mediated by downregulating two distinct phosphatase activities of PTEN. JOURNAL OF NEUROCHEMISTRY, Vol. 90 (pp 146-146) RIS download Bibtex download


Research group
  • Dr Ana Maria Sandoval (Postdoctoral Research Associate)
  • Jie Ren (PhD student)
  • Anushka Bhargava (PhD student)
Teaching interests

The focus of my teaching is the use of inquiry-based learning (IBL) methods to teach (MSc lectures) or supervise undergraduate projects (SSC) and graduate (MSc and PhD) students.

I am the representative ECG (The Early Career Group) committee member for the Division of Neuroscience for postdoctoral training at the University of Sheffield. I am a primary supervisor for MSc and PhD students and a mentor for Medical students.

Current Projects
  1. Characterisation of the motor neurons obtained from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) in Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  2. SMN Replacement Therapy for Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Clinical Development
  3. Arfapin 2 regulates protein aggregation and survival in ALS
  4. Characterisation of electrophysiology in motor neuron disease
  5. PTEN signalling in motor neuron survival
  6. Development and validation of a human brain microphysiological system derived from induced pluripotent stem cells in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)