Tim Murphy

Degrees / Credentials

PhD 1989 and PDF 1994, Johns Hopkins University


Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, UBC


Full Member

Tim Murphy is a foundational scientist who contributes to understanding of how mouse cortex adapts after stroke, resulting in remapping of brain function from damaged to surviving areas using mouse models. The lab develops new imaging and optogenetic methods that have parallels to human brain imaging and stimulation tools. In developing these tools that laboratory participates in the Canadian Neurophotonics Platform and leads UBC’s Dynamic Brain Circuits in Health and Disease Cluster which actively seeks to articulate new optical methods that are applied to questions related to diseases of the nervous system. Murphy has been a past instructor in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Imaging Neurons and Neural Activity course and UBC’s 3D-microscopy courses. By understanding the stroke recovery process on a circuit level, the lab hopes to advance patient translatable brain stimulation or other plasticity-inducing treatments. More recently the laboratory has extended these approaches to mouse models of psychiatric disorders such as depression and autism. To facilitate circuit interrogation in vivo the lab develops high-throughput models which automate animal imaging.

Contact Info

Mailing Address
Detwiller Pavilion
2255 Wesbrook Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 2A1

Research Information

Research Summary

General areas of research:

Structure-function of brain circuits in relation to stroke. High resolution imaging of individual synapses and sensorimotor circuits in live mice to provide insight into mechanisms of initial stroke damage and stroke recovery. We are currently focusing on understanding how sensory and motor circuits compensate after stroke.

CNS synaptic plasticity/physiology mesoscale level: in vivo imaging of synaptic interactions and sensorimotor processing, novel brain mapping procedures using optogenetics.

Automated mouse brain imaging and brain stimulation: we develop models of neurological and psychiatric disease that employ internet enabled mouse homecages that are used to manipulate and assess brain activity.


Murphy Lab Media Highlights

Using light to probe and facilitate sensory and motor circuit recovery after stroke (The Globe and Mail).

Stroke damage occurs begins in less than 3 minutes (Science Daily).

Commentary on Ron Frostig’s lab’s work using sensory stimulation to restore blood flow (Neurology Today).

The Human Connectome Project: “A big brainstorm is on the horizon in neuroscience” (The Globe and Mail).




  • stroke
  • depression
  • neuroplasticity
  • imaging
  • foundational science