All Group Leaders 

Anthony  Vernon

Anthony Vernon

Senior Lecturer

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The Vernon lab is an inter-disciplinary research group, which aims to address the lack of continuity between the levels of analysis used in animal models and clinical research into brain disorders. To fill this gap, we have developed a cutting edge biomedical imaging approach, comprising in vivo Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI; clinically comparable technology) and ex vivo 3D imaging of intact brain tissue (CLARITY), coupled with post-mortem cellular and molecular analyses. We can therefore recapitulate precise correlates of specific neural systems from rodents to humans. We apply this powerful systems level, translational approach to our primary research questions: (1) Understanding the effects of psychotropic drugs, such as antipsychotics and antidepressants, on the nervous, immune and endocrine systems. By advancing our understanding of the long-term impact of psychotropic drug treatment, this will inform the clinical use of these drugs and help design novel therapies with improved response rate and risk: benefit profiles. (2) To understand how alterations in brain structure and function observed in patients with psychiatric and neurological disorders align with appropriate rodent models. This is crucial to validate subsequent observations in animal models at the cellular and network levels, to speed the development and testing of novel drugs and biomarkers for patient stratification and measuring drug efficacy. We collaborate actively with labs at KCL, other UK and international academic institutions and industrial partners.

Selected publications

Murray KN, Edye ME, Manca M, Vernon AC, Oladipo JM, Fasolino V, Harte MK, Mason V, Grayson B, McHugh PC, Knuesel I, Prinssen EP, Hager R, Neill JC (2018) Evolution of a maternal immune activation (mIA) model in rats: Early developmental effects. Brain Behav Immun
Crum WR, Sawiak SJ, Chege W, Cooper JD, Williams SCR, Vernon AC (2017) Evolution of structural abnormalities in the rat brain following in utero exposure to maternal immune activation: A longitudinal in vivo MRI study. Brain Behav Immun 63: 50-59
Mondelli V, Vernon AC, Turkheimer F, Dazzan P, Pariante CM (2017) Brain microglia in psychiatric disorders. Lancet Psychiatry 4: 563-572
Hawkins PCT, Wood TC, Vernon AC, Bertolino A, Sambataro F, Dukart J, Merlo-Pich E, Risterucci C, Silber-Baumann H, Walsh E, Mazibuko N, Zelaya FO, Mehta MA (2017) An investigation of regional cerebral blood flow and tissue structure changes after acute administration of antipsychotics in healthy male volunteers. Hum Brain Mapp 39: 319-331

Notter T, Coughlin JM, Gschwind T, Weber-Stadlbauer U, Wang Y, Kassiou M, Vernon AC, Benke D, Pomper MG, Sawa A, Meyer U (2017) Translational evaluation of translocator protein as a marker of neuroinflammation in schizophrenia. Mol Psychiatry
Cotel MC, Lenartowicz EM, Natesan S, Modo MM, Cooper JD, Williams SC, Kapur S, Vernon AC (2015) Microglial activation in the rat brain following chronic antipsychotic treatment at clinically relevant doses. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 25: 2098-107
Vernon AC, So PW, Lythgoe DJ, Chege W, Cooper JD, Williams SC, Kapur S (2015) Longitudinal in vivo maturational changes of metabolites in the prefrontal cortex of rats exposed to polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid in utero. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 25: 2210-20
Vernon AC, Crum WR, Lerch JP, Chege W, Natesan S, Modo M, Cooper JD, Williams SC, Kapur S (2014) Reduced cortical volume and elevated astrocyte density in rats chronically treated with antipsychotic drugs-linking magnetic resonance imaging findings to cellular pathology. Biol Psychiatry 75: 982-90
Crum WR, Modo M, Vernon AC, Barker GJ, Williams SC (2013) Registration of challenging pre-clinical brain images. J Neurosci Methods 216: 62-77
Vernon AC, Natesan S, Crum WR, Cooper JD, Modo M, Williams SC, Kapur S (2012) Contrasting effects of haloperidol and lithium on rodent brain structure: a magnetic resonance imaging study with postmortem confirmation. Biol Psychiatry 71: 855-63
Vernon AC, Natesan S, Modo M, Kapur S (2011) Effect of chronic antipsychotic treatment on brain structure: a serial magnetic resonance imaging study with ex vivo and postmortem confirmation. Biol Psychiatry 69: 936-44