The aim of the Swing The Mood project is to improve our understanding of bipolar disorder, a common and highly heritable mental illness that affects about two percent of the population. It is characterised by extreme “mood swings” that cycle between episodes of mania and depression. This project synthesises current developments in molecular dynamics: the standard tool for the investigation of biomolecules, and optogenetics: a rapidly evolving field of technology that allows optical control of genetically targeted biological systems. Specific attention is devoted to the ADCY2 gene, which encodes the adenylate cyclase 2 enzyme, recently implicated as a risk factor in a genome-wide association study. The therapeutic action of mood stabilizers, antipsychotics and antidepressants will also be explored, with the ultimate aim of providing new hypotheses that will lead to the improvement of disease treatment and diagnosis, as well as drug design. This project is an ongoing work by University of New England Vice Chancellor’s Scholar, Mark Villar, and his supervisor, Dr Erica Smith from the Discipline of Chemistry.
The role of adenylate cyclase 2 enzyme on bipolar disorder