Research Professor (2013-), Professor of Systems Neuroscience (2003), PhD (Institute of Psychiatry 1982). Co-Director of Psychiatric Research Institute of Neuroscience in Glasgow (PsyRING; psyring.co.uk) a collaboration between the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde. Since 1997, PsyRING has engaged in major collaborations with Pharmaceutical companies to provide translational solutions for drug discovery and development in Psychiatric disease.
Research Interests are focussed on understanding the molecular and neural systems that underpin behaviour in mental health and disease. We are a multidisciplinary, friendly team with expertise spanning genetics, molecular biology, brain imaging and behaviour.
Schizophrenia: PsyRING has provided new insight into the glutamate hypothesis of schizophrenia. We have demonstrated that PCP produces schizophrenia-like changes in brain imaging, GABAergic interneurone markers and cognition. Novel therapeutic targets have been identified (e.g. serominic) and validated. We have determined the functional brain networks subserving PCP-induced disruption of cognition and their restoration by the pro-cognitive drug modafinil. Current work is focussed on understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of genetic risk factors for schizophrenia. We have identified a novel risk gene for schizophrenia MAP2K7 and shown that it produces schizophrenia-like working memory deficits. In a recent multicentre translational medicine grant with Pfizer we have identified key neural substrates underpinning behavioural deficits in DISC1 mouse models and demonstrated that the thalamic reticular nucleus is a key region affected in the models.
Cannabinoids: We are investigating the mechanisms of interaction between the constituents of cannabis (e.g. THC and cannabidiol) and with THC and other psychoactive drugs. Recent work is focussed on environment-environment interactions determining the impact of prenatal infection and adolescence THC exposure on brain systems and behaviour in adulthood.
CeNsUS (Centre for Neuroscience at the University of Strathclyde): Through multidisciplinary collaborations within CeNsUS we are 1) applying novel algorithms from network science to understanding brain systems underpinning drug actions in disease and 2) developing medical devices for deep brain stimulation 3) Investigating the role of the reticular thalamic nucleus in the corticothalamic system using optogenetics
Public engagement. Engaged in activities at the Glasgow Science Festival, Glasgow Science Centre, Schools, Restaurants, British Association for the Advancement of Science