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Personal profile

Personal Statement

Ben Pickard obtained a BSc in Biochemistry from Imperial College London (1992), and a PhD from the University of Edinburgh (1996). Before coming to the University of Strathclyde, he worked at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge on factors regulating DNA methylation, and at the Molecular Medicine Centre, Edinburgh, identifying genetic risk factors for common psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression.

Teaching Interests

  • Teaching across Biomedical Sciences classes: BM110, 108, 109, 210, 214, 321, 326, 327, 422, 423, 430, 432; Pharmacy: MP422; Postgraduate: BM934, 937, 951, 942, 952, 953, 959.
  • Coordinator of Biomedical Sciences classes BM321, BM423; Postgraduate: BM934, 937, 952.
  • Personal Development Advisor
  • Internal/external examiner PhD theses
  • External examiner MSc Neuroscience, UCL, (2013-2015)

Certificates of Recognition in University of Strathclyde Student Union Teaching Excellence Awards: 2012, 2013, 2014. Winner: Most Supportive Teacher 2017.

Research Interests

  1. The use of gene traps in human cell lines to create mutational libraries that can be screened to reveal biological pathways: e.g., lithium mood stabiliser action, the formation of the perineuronal net, beta-amyloid toxicity in Alzheimers, human defence mechanisms against bacterial infection.
  2. The formation of the special type of extracellular matrix called the Perineuronal Net (PNN) which surrounds certain brain neurons and, when defective, may be a causative factor in psychiatric disorders.
  3. Two new rules we have discovered that link the amino acid composition of a protein to its expression level.

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
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Science, Gene expression in the hippocampus, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 1996

Bachelor of Biomedical science, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine

Award Date: 1 Jan 1992

Keywords

  • schizophrenia
  • bipolar disorder
  • genetics
  • cell biology
  • metabolism
  • stem cells
  • molecular biology
  • transcriptomics
  • gene trap
  • telomerase
  • epigenetics

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