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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology staff profiles

Professor Michelle Glass

PositionHead of Department
DepartmentDepartment of Pharmacology and Toxicology
QualificationsPhD BSc
Research summaryCannabinoids, neurodegenerative diseases, Huntington’s disease, G-protein coupled receptors

Research

Professor Michelle Glass is the Head of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. The molecular pharmacologist had most recently been working at the University of Auckland for 18 years where she was Head of the Department of Pharmacology and in 2017 appointed Professor of Pharmacology.

She has now returned to the department where her working career began 23 years ago. Professor Glass’ first role after graduating with a PhD from the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Auckland in 1995 was as an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Otago.

Her initial stint at Otago was brief as she took up a fellowship in the United States the following year. She worked as a postdoctoral Fellow in the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Regulation at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland for 18 months before moving on to work as a Visiting Fellow in the Laboratory of Cell Biology at the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communications Disorders in Rockville, Maryland. She returned to New Zealand in 2000 and took up a role as a Lecturer within the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Auckland.

Professor Glass’ research focuses on the expression, function and molecular pharmacology of the cannabinoid receptors and their potential role in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Her recent research interests have extended to identifying the mechanism by which synthetic cannabinoids are resulting in high levels of toxicity in the community and advising on the development of clinical trials for medicinal cannabis products.

Currently, Professor Glass is a member of the Medical Cannabis Research Collaborative (NZ), which aims to ensure robust clinical research of medical cannabis products in New Zealand is undertaken. It will also set informal standards for the development and testing of medical cannabis products, as well as increasing understanding and the base of evidence for or against the use of medical cannabis products in specific clinical conditions. Her contributions to the field have been acknowledged by an early career award from the International Cannabinoid Research Society in 2009 and by election to President of this society.

She acknowledges it is an interesting time with change potentially in the wind with so many countries legalising cannabis.

“I think it’s important that the science keeps up with the public debate.”

Read more in Otago Bulletin:
Synthetic cannabis under spotlight for new Pharmacology head

Publications

Cooper, A. G., MacDonald, C., Glass, M., Hook, S., Tyndall, J. D. A., & Vernall, A. J. (2018). Alkyl indole-based cannabinoid type 2 receptor tools: Exploration of linker and fluorophore attachment. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 145, 770-789. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2017.11.076

Zhu, X., Finlay, D. B., Glass, M., & Duffull, S. B. (2018). An evaluation of the operational model when applied to quantify functional selectivity. British Journal of Pharmacology, 175, 1654-1668. doi: 10.1111/bph.14171

Ashton, J. C., Dowie, M. J., & Glass, M. (2017). The endocannabinoid system and human brain functions: Insight from memory, motor, and mood pathologies. In E. Murillo-Rodríguez (Ed.), The endocannabinoid system. (pp. 115-186). London, UK: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-809666-6.00005-8

Hunter, M. R., Finlay, D. B., Macdonald, C. E., Cawston, E. E., Grimsey, N. L., & Glass, M. (2017). Real-time measurement of cannabinoid receptor-mediated cAMP signaling. In P. H. Reggio (Ed.), Methods in enzymology: Cannabinoids and their receptors (Vol. 593). (pp. 43-59). Cambridge, MA: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/bs.mie.2017.05.001

Hunter, M. R., Finlay, D. B., & Glass, M. (2017). Signal transduction and regulation of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor. In V. R. Preedy (Ed.), Handbook of cannabis and related pathologies: Biology, pharmacology, diagnosis, and treatment. (pp. 563-572). London, UK: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800756-3.00069-7

Chapter in Book - Research

Ashton, J. C., Dowie, M. J., & Glass, M. (2017). The endocannabinoid system and human brain functions: Insight from memory, motor, and mood pathologies. In E. Murillo-Rodríguez (Ed.), The endocannabinoid system. (pp. 115-186). London, UK: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-809666-6.00005-8

Hunter, M. R., Finlay, D. B., & Glass, M. (2017). Signal transduction and regulation of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor. In V. R. Preedy (Ed.), Handbook of cannabis and related pathologies: Biology, pharmacology, diagnosis, and treatment. (pp. 563-572). London, UK: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800756-3.00069-7

Hunter, M. R., Finlay, D. B., Macdonald, C. E., Cawston, E. E., Grimsey, N. L., & Glass, M. (2017). Real-time measurement of cannabinoid receptor-mediated cAMP signaling. In P. H. Reggio (Ed.), Methods in enzymology: Cannabinoids and their receptors (Vol. 593). (pp. 43-59). Cambridge, MA: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/bs.mie.2017.05.001

Ashton, J. C., & Glass, M. (2008). Multiple roles for cannabinoids in neuroprotection during oxidative stress injury. In O. M. Roux (Ed.), Brain hypoxia-ischemia research progress. (pp. 229-244). New York: Nova.

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Journal - Research Article

Cooper, A. G., MacDonald, C., Glass, M., Hook, S., Tyndall, J. D. A., & Vernall, A. J. (2018). Alkyl indole-based cannabinoid type 2 receptor tools: Exploration of linker and fluorophore attachment. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 145, 770-789. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2017.11.076

Zhu, X., Finlay, D. B., Glass, M., & Duffull, S. B. (2018). An evaluation of the operational model when applied to quantify functional selectivity. British Journal of Pharmacology, 175, 1654-1668. doi: 10.1111/bph.14171

Finlay, D. B., Cawston, E. E., Grimsey, N. L., Hunter, M. R., Korde, A., Vemuri, V. K., … Glass, M. (2017). Gαs signalling of the CB1 receptor and the influence of receptor number. British Journal of Pharmacology, 174(15), 2545-2562. doi: 10.1111/bph.13866

Finlay, D. B., Joseph, W. R., Grimsey, N. L., & Glass, M. (2016). GPR18 undergoes a high degree of constitutive trafficking but is unresponsive to N-arachidonoyl glycine. PeerJ, 2016(4), e1835. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1835

MacDonald, C., Finlay, D. B., Jabed, A., Glass, M., & Graham, E. S. (2014). Development of positive control tissue for in situ hybridisation using Alvetex scaffolds. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 238, 70-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2014.09.006

Graham, E. S., Ashton, J. C., & Glass, M. (2009). Cannabinoid receptors: A brief history and 'What's hot'. Frontiers in Bioscience, 14, 944-957. doi: 10.2741/3288

Ashton, J. C., Rahman, R. M. A., Nair, S. M., Sutherland, B. A., Glass, M., & Appleton, I. (2007). Cerebral hypoxia-ischemia and middle cerebral artery occlusion induce expression of the cannabinoid CB2 receptor in the brain. Neuroscience Letters, 412, 114-117.

Ashton, J. C., & Glass, M. (2007). The cannabinoid CB2 receptor as a target for inflammation-dependent neurodegeneration. Current Neuropharmacology, 5(2), 73-80.

McPartland, J., Di Marzo, V., De Petrocellis, L., Mercer, A. R., & Glass, M. (2001). Cannabinoid receptors absent in insects. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 436, 423-429.

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