Professor Adrian Harwood
Professor Harwood brings a strong background in cell biology to the Research Institute, with extensive experience in molecular signaling systems and cell behavior in neuronal and model cell systems. He is a world leader in the emerging field of cellular pharmacology, studying the interaction of psychotropic drugs in the cellular context.
His current work focuses on the molecular and cellular interactions of lithium and other mood stabilizers used in the treatment of bipolar mood disorder, and epigenetic mechanisms that increase risk of psychiatric disorders. This work aims to both develop new therapeutic strategies and provide basic insight into the cellular mechanisms underlying mental illnesses.
He investigates phospho-inositide signaling and the protein kinase GSK-3 function, the two major lithium targets, recently discovering that lithium suppresses PIP3 signaling. His group has also uncovered a novel signal pathway that alters lithium sensitivity and leads to aberrant cell behavior that can be reversed by lithium treatment.
In 2010 he was made a member of the Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum (CINP), and is also a Fellow of the Society of Biology (FSB), associate Editor of Molecular Biotechnology and an academic editor for PLOSone. Within the School of Biosciences, he was Group Leader of the Molecular Cell Biology Research Group (2005-2007), and served as acting joint Head of Research in 2008. Since 2009, he has been Head of Innovation, Partnership and Engagement.