Professor Harvey obtained his PhD in Natural Sciences (Biochemistry) from the University of Cambridge and carried out postdoctoral studies at the Institute for Cell biology and Clinical Neurobiology in Hamburg and the Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt. Prior to his appointment at USC, he was Professor of Molecular Neuroscience and Genetics at the UCL School of Pharmacy (London, UK). He was also Associate Director for Research, Chair of Research Committee and Research Excellence Framework Impact co-ordinator. He also served on several Departmental and Faculty committees including: the Athena Swan Committee, the UCL Open Access Academic Advisory Group and the UCL Faculty of Life Sciences Senior Management group. In 2017, he relocated to the University of the Sunshine Coast, and now runs a research group at the Sunshine Coast Health Institute. He is Professor of Pathophysiology and member of the USC Research Committee and USC Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) SAT team. Professor Harvey is also currently the Co-Editor in Chief of the open access journal Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience.
Professor Robert Harvey’s research interests are centred firmly around Biomedical Science, in particular molecular neuroscience and genetics. Professor Harvey studies receptors and transporters for GABA, glycine and glutamate, using bioinformatics, cellular models, genetics, electrophysiology and molecular modelling to understand how the genetic basis of disease. He is internationally known for his work on startle disease in humans, cattle and dogs, as well as mouse models of glycine receptor dysfunction. The latter revealed roles for the glycine receptor α2 and α3 subunits in interneuron migration in the developing brain, autism spectrum disorder and rhythmic breathing. Professor Harvey’s research has a strong translational aspect: he aims to convert basic science discoveries into clinical applications, such as improved genetic diagnostics, animal / patient care, and new pharmacological treatments. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles in this area, including high-impact papers in Cell, Cell Reports, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Communications, Nature Genetics, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Reviews in Drug Discovery, Neuron and Science.
Current research projects include:
- Understanding pathogenic mechanisms of AMPA and NMDA receptor mutations found in individuals with autism, intellectual disability and severe childhood epilepsies;
- Revealing the role of defective neuronal proteins including collybistin, IQSEC2 and ZSWIM6 in intellectual disability; and
- Developing zebrafish models of glycine receptor dysfunction and intractable childhood neurological disorders (e.g. dopamine transporter deficiency syndrome), using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing.