Professor Robert Harvey

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Professor Robert Harvey


Teaching areas

  • LFS303 Pathophysiology
  • HLT221 Human Pathophysiology
  • LFS251 Biochemistry
  • BIM263 Introduction to Pharmacology

Program coordinator


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. Professor Harvey is 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 human and animal disorders. 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 GlyR 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.

Recent research projects include:

  1. Understanding pathogenic mechanisms of NMDA receptor mutations in severe childhood epilepsies;
  2. Revealing the role of defective GTP-GDP exchange factor activity in intellectual disability; and
  3. Developing zebrafish models of intractable childhood neurological disorders, including Batten disease and dopamine transporter deficiency syndrome DTDS) using CRISPR/Cas9 methods.
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