Anthony Vernon

Anthony Vernon

Dr, Reader in Neuropsychopharmacology

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Personal profile

Research interests

The Vernon lab is an inter-disciplinary research group working at the interface of fundamental neuroscience and clinical research into mental health. Current work in the laboratory is focused on two themes:

(1) Understanding the effects of psychotropic drugs used in the treatment of mental health problems, such as antipsychotics and antidepressants, on the nervous, immune and endocrine systems. By understanding the long-term impact of psychotropic drug treatment, we will inform the clinical use of these drugs, to improve risk: benefit profiles and potentially response rates.

Key publications for Theme 1:

Vernon et al., Biol. Psychiatry, 2011, DOI:10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.11.010

Vernon et al., Biol. Psychiatry, 2012, DOI:10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.12.004

Vernon et al., Biol. Psychiatry, 2014, DOI:10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.09.012

Cotel et al., Eur. NPP, 2015, DOI:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.08.004

Crum et al., Psych. Med., 2016, DOI:10.1017/S0033291716001768

Hawkins et al., Human Brain Mapping, 2018, DOI:10.1002/hbm.23844

(2) To understand how alterations in brain structure and function observed in patients with mental health disorders align with appropriate experimental models. This research is crucial to advance knowledge of causative biological pathways and mechanisms to provide much-needed and more effective therapies for mental health problems including early, preventative interventions.

Key publications for Theme 2:

Vernon et al., Eur. NPP, 2015b, DOI:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.09.022

Turkheimer et al., NBBR 2015, DOI:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.04.014

Richetto et al., Cerebral Cortex, 2017, DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhw320

Crum et al., BBI, 2017, DOI:10.1016/j.bbi.2016.12.008

Mondelli et al., Lancet Psych., 2017 DOI:10.1016/S2215-0366(17)30101-3

Notter et al., Mol. Psych., 2018, DOI:10.1038/mp.2016.248

A common thread linking both themes is the role of glial cells and immune dysfunction as both a pathological mechanism and putative treatment target for mental illness. Specifically, we are interested in the role of neuron-microglia interactions in the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders and whether glial cells play a role in the therapeutic and adverse effects of antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs.

We primarily study rodent models, but also human induced pluripotent stem cells (hIPSC) differentiated towards neural and glial cell fates. We use a broad range of methods that include but are not limited to: small animal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI; clinically comparable technology), next generation 3D histopathology (CLARITY), conventional 2D neuropathology, biochemistry, proteomics and transcriptomics.  However, our lab is “question oriented” rather than “method oriented” and we are interested to exploit any new advances in technology to address our research questions.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, “Neuroprotective effects of metabotropic glutamate receptor ligands in a rodent 6-hydroxydopamine model of Parkinson’s disease” , Imperial College London

Award Date: 1 Jan 2007

Bachelor of Science, Imperial College London

Award Date: 1 Jan 2002


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