Prof John Hardy is a geneticist and molecular biologist whose research interests focus on neurological disease. Dr. Hardy received his B.Sc. (Hons) degree from the University of Leeds, UK (1976) and his Ph.D. from Imperial College, London, UK where he studied dopamine and amino acid neuropharmacology. Dr. Hardy received his postdoctoral training at the MRC Neuropathogenesis Unit in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and then further postdoctoral work at the Swedish Brain Bank in Umeå, Sweden where he started to work on Alzheimer’s disease. He became Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at St. Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College, London in 1985 and initiated genetic studies of Alzheimer’s disease whilst there. He was appointed Associate Professor in 1989 and then took the Pfeiffer Endowed Chair of Alzheimer’s Research at the University of South Florida, in Tampa in 1992. In 1996 he moved to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, as Consultant and Professor of Neuroscience. He became Chair of Neuroscience in 2000 and moved to NIA as Chief of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics in 2001. He won the MetLife, the Allied Signal and the Potamkin Prize for his work in describing the first genetic mutations, in the amyloid gene in Alzheimer’s disease, in 1991. He was Head of the Neurogenetics Section, National Institute of Ageing, Bethesda, USA and in 2007 took up the Chair of Molecular Biology of Neurological Disease at the UCL Institute of Neurology. With over 23,000 citations, Prof Hardy is the most cited Alzheimer's disease researcher in the UK (5th internationally). In recognition of his exceptional contributions to science, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2009.
Professor Hardy’s research interests are in the genetic analysis of disease. Historically, he has worked on the genetic analysis of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. More recently, he has worked on Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders and, most recently on motor neuron disease. His early studies were on mendelian forms of disease and these studies continue, but an increasing focus has been on the genetic analysis of complex traits related to disease. Additionally, his laboratory is increasingly interested in population genetics because the risk variants for human traits are likely to be different in different racial groups. In all cases his work moves toward developing an understanding of the underlying genetics of a disorder to enable making cellular and animal models of the disease to help, both in the understanding of disease mechanisms and to help in the search for treatments.