Professor Anthony Akkari, PhD

Head, Motor Neurone Disease Genetics and Therapeutics Research

Professor Anthony Akkari and his team’s research focus is developing new strategic approaches to identifying genetic mechanisms and mutations in neurological diseases, with the aim of developing new and personalised treatments, particularly for motor neurone disease.

In early 2017, Professor Akkari was appointed the Head of Motor Neurone Disease Genetics and Therapeutics Research at the Perron Institute, and as a Professor of Industrial Pharmacogenetics at Murdoch University.

Professor Akkari is a pharmacogeneticist and neuromuscular geneticist with 28 years research experience in Australia and the US. This includes 14 years of industry expertise in molecular genetics, pharmacogenetics and personalised medicine, providing leadership and technical expertise for the application of genetic sciences in drug development.

Professor Akkari’s leadership experience is also in the area of translational research, both at GlaxoSmithKline and Eli Lilly in the US, leading drug development in the areas of genetics and pharmacogenetics. From 2008 until early 2017, Professor Akkari was a Director of Cabernet Pharmaceuticals, started by Professor Allen Roses, also Perron Institute alumni. During this time, Professor Akkari was seconded to Eli Lilly for six years to deliver tailored therapeutics capability and expertise in drug development for the Type 2 Diabetes portfolio. From 2013 Professor Akkari was Chief Scientific Officer of Shiraz Pharmaceuticals, a motor neurone disease therapeutics company, also started by Professor Roses. Professor Akkari has developed pharmacogenetics research programs that have been implemented in the US, UK, Europe and China, from Phase 1 through to Phase 3, working with clinical teams to formulate drug development strategies.

Professor Akkari’s academic experience includes positions such as an NHMRC Research Fellow and Adjunct Associate Professor at the school of Biomedical Sciences, Curtin University. Previous roles include Director of Science Molecular Research Technologies and Deputy Director of the Perth high through put Genotyping Facility at QEII Medical Centre.

Professor Akkari completed his PhD at the Perron institute in the 90s and his Post Doctoral Research at Duke University. In the early 90s Professor Akkari began collaborating with Professor Roses, Jefferson-Pilot Corporation Professor of Neurobiology at Duke University. Prior to this, Professor Akkari was recognised as the ‘Muscular dystrophy researcher of the year’ by the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Australia for “Genetic breakthroughs in congenital myopathies”.