Richard S. Jope, Ph.D.
Richard S. Jope, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Miami School of Medicine. He obtained a Ph.D. in biological chemistry at UCLA in 1975, followed by postdoctoral training in pharmacology at UCLA. During his postdoctoral fellowship he began to study the mechanism of action of lithium, publishing his first research paper on lithium in 1978 in the New England Journal of Medicine, which has been followed by over 100 papers and book chapters focused on lithium’s actions. Upon moving to a faculty position at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, he obtained funding from the NIH to study lithium in 1984, a project that continues to be funded to identify the therapeutic actions of lithium.
Lithium to the Rescue
The element lithium is given in capsule form as a mood stabilizer for bipolar disorder and depression. New research, however, reveals its role as a neuroprotector, and suggests that enzymes modulated by lithium could lead to new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other neurodegenerative disorders.