Turgay Akay

Associate Professor

Email: turgay.akay@dal.ca
Phone: 902-494-2647
Mailing Address: 
Life Science Research Building, 3rd Floor, Room N344; PO Box 15000, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Locomotion
  • Spinal reflexes
  • Pattern generation
  • Motion analysis
  • Electromyogram
  • Amyotropic lateral sclerosis
  • Mutant mouse models
  • in vivo


  • BEng (Süleyman Demirel University, Eğirdir-Isparta, Turkey)
  • BSc (University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany)
  • PhD (University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany)

Research interests

Dr. Akay’s research interest is to gain insights into neuronal mechanisms that control locomotion, such as walking and swimming in terrestrial animals and how these insights can be used to improve our understanding of human diseases that affect locomotion. His work is interdisciplinary involving electrophysiology, motion analysis and mouse genetics.

Selected publications

  • Akay T, Tourtellotte WG, Arber S, Jessell TM. (2014 Nov 11). Degradation of mouse locomotor pattern in the absence of proprioceptive sensory feedback. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. pii:201419045.
  • Akay T (2014). Long-term measurement of muscle denervation and locomotor behavior in individual wild type and ALS model mice. J. Neurophysiol. 111(3):694-703.
  • Zagoraiou L, Akay T, Martin JF, Brownstone RM, Jessell TM, and Miles GB (2009). A cluster of cholinergic pre-motor interneurons modulates locomotor activity in mouse. Neuron 64:645-662.
  • Akay T, Ludwar BCh, Göritz ML, Schmitz J, and Büschges A (2007). Segment specific reflex-reversal depends on walking direction in stick insect leg. J. Neurosci. 27(12):3285-3294.
  • Akay T, McVea D, Tachibana A, and Pearson KG (2006). Coordination of fore and hind leg stepping in cats on a transversely-split treadmill. Exp. Brain Res. 175(2):211-222.
  • Akay T, Acharya H, Fouad K, and Pearson KG (2006). Behavioral and electromyographic characterization of mice lacking EphA4 receptors. J. Neurophysiol. 96(2):642-651.

Selected awards and honours

  • Stipend granted by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute scholarship fund
  • Emmy-Noether Fellowship” from the German Science Foundation (DFG)


  • American Society for Neuroscience
  • Canadian Association for Neuroscience


  • 2012-2014: associate research scientist, Department of Neurological Surgery and Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
  • 2009-2012: Howard Hughes Medical Institute research specialist in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas M. Jessell, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
  • 2007-2009: Howard Hughes Medical Institute associate in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas M. Jessell, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
  • 2004-2007: postdoctoral research fellow with Dr. Keir G. Pearson, University of Alberta, Dept. of Physiology, Edmonton, AB, Canada.
  • 2002-2004: postdoctoral research fellow with Dr. Michael P. Nusbaum, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.