Vice Head of Institute
Institute for Biomedicine
Main Research Interests
Being Vice Head of the Institute for Biomedicine involves interacting with the senior management team of the Institute to develop and execute the strategic development of the Institute overall, in order to help achieve our mission and vision. As Group Leader of the Translational Genomics group my main focus is to map the genes involved in complex diseases of the population, study the interactions between these gene and environment, and look for opportunities to develop specific targets towards products and services and solutions that can positively impact the health of the population. Currently we have active research programs to identify functionality of genes associating with Parkinson’s disease, and whether these can be manipulated for potential therapeutic benefit. We are also establishing research programs into mechanisms of neuronal hyperexcitability that might underlie chronic pain, sleep disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders and epilepsy, with the ultimate goal of identifying pathways and mechanisms for potential intervention.
From 1981-1985 I studied Biochemistry (with supplemental Chemical Pharmacology) at Oxford University (LMH) in what is now the MBiochem. program, obtaining my Bachelors (B.A.) and Masters (M.A.) degrees. From there I moved to Cambridge (Pembroke), and from 1985-1989 obtained my PhD at the MRC Molecular Neurobiology unit on the site of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB). During this time (1988) I also spent 6 months at the NIH laboratory of Dr J.C. Venter. From 1989-1992 I stayed in Cambridge as a Senior Research Associate for Neuroscience at Peterhouse, studying neurotransmitter receptor genes as candidates in neurological and psychiatric disorders. I then moved to France, and from 1992-1998 was a Project Director in the CNRS laboratory of Jacques Mallet, investigating changes of gene expression in models of synaptic plasticity. I then moved to Iceland (via the Faroe Islands) and from 1998-2007 was the Project Leader and Director of Movement Disorder Genetics within the CNS division of deCODE genetics Inc. with a focus on the genetics of Parkinson’s disease and Restless legs Syndrome. During this time (1998-2003) I acted as a part-time consultant to the Government of the Faroe Islands to help in establishing the framework for genetic research on the Islands. In 2007 I moved to what is now the Institute for Biomedicine at Eurac Research, holding positions of Deputy Scientific Director and Group Leader for Molecular Medicine and then Neuromedicine groups. Since 2018 my role is Vice Head of Institute and Group Leader for Translational Genomics. Overall, I have been working for the last 22 years in the field of complex disease genetics, both mapping genes and establishing functional research programs to investigate the role of genes in disease mechanisms.
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=2lcHjOsAAAAJ&hl=en
Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Andrew-Hicks-5