Pharmacy & biomedical sciences Adil Abbasi

Adil is a postgraduate research student at Strathclyde. Find out below what he enjoys most about studying here.

Strathclyde is the third university I’ve studied at and it has the best support network for students I’ve ever seen. Staff are helpful and very easy to engage with and are willing to give advice, often even if you don’t know them.

Adil Abbasi, postgraduate research student at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Strathclyde has students from a wide range of backgrounds – along with the supportive staff, this gives the University a real family feeling. Staff, certainly in my own department, will go out of their way to help students – it really does make you feel like you’re a valued member of the community.  

My research is on the role of lithium in the treatment of bipolar disorder. Lithium has been regarded as the gold standard in this area but it doesn’t work for everyone and can be toxic. There are suggestions that there may be a genetic cause for this and I’m using techniques such as gene trapping to identify genes that might be involved in regulating the lithium pathways.

One of the most critical components is a molecule in the brain which wraps around the neurons, protecting them from damage. Brain synapses change over time but lithium seems to stabilise that and we’re unsure why. My supervisor, Dr Ben Pickard, is fantastic and there’s a lot of support from other postgraduate and postdoctorate researchers.

My supervisor, Dr Ben Pickard, is fantastic and there’s a lot of support from other postgraduate and postdoctorate researchers.

The student union is definitely one of the best things about Strathclyde. There are so many people there working behind the scenes, in conjunction with the University, to improve students’ experience. I had quite a bad time in my life and the union and Strathclyde staff helped me pull through. I’ve now founded the Strathclyde Friendship Society, which is looking to help people deal with mental health issues – I would hope it can help to build communities.

After I complete my PhD, I’d like to come back to Strathclyde as a Teaching Fellow. I’ve had so much fantastic support that I feel I’d like to give something back and I would hope to be able to help make a difference to students.