Richard Harvey

2010 LEMBERG MEDALLIST: RICHARD HARVEY

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute

Professor Richard Harvey received his PhD in 1982 from the Department of Biochemistry, University of Adelaide, after having trained in molecular biology under Julian Wells. Following a brief sojourn in biotechnology in Strasbourg, France, he undertook postdoctoral studies over three years with Doug Melton at Harvard University, adapting molecular techniques to the analysis of embryonic development. He then moved to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, where he established an independent research effort. In 1998, after 10 years at WEHI, he moved to the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, where he is currently Co-Deputy Director and Head of the Developmental Biology Program, and holds the endowed Sir Peter Finley Professorship of Heart Research at the University of New South Wales. He is an Associate Member of EMBO and in 2007 was elected member of the Australian Academy of Science. He currently holds an NHMRC Australia Fellowship and is Leader of the Adult Stem Cells Collaborative Stream of the Australian Stem Cell Centre.

Since the early 1990s, Richard’s research has focused on the genetic basis of heart development and congenital heart disease, largely using the mouse as a genetic model, but also applying key insights to human populations. In the early 1990s, he described the homeodomain transcription factor Nkx2-5, which provided a key entry point for genetic dissection of heart development and disease. His subsequent studies on Nkx2-5 and other core cardiac transcription factors have helped move cardiac development and congenital heart disease research into the molecular era, and have contributed important insights into cardiac evolution, the nature of cardiac patterning, and the cellular and molecular basis of congenital heart disease pathology. More recently, he has begun an exploration of the biology and origin of adult cardiac stem cells and cardiac regeneration. Progressively, his work shifts towards a more systems level understanding and the challenges of network biology will occupy much of his attention in the coming years.