- Dr Howitt is a neurobiologist studying biochemical pathways in brain development and disease. His research has identified important pathways for the trafficking of metals in the brain and how failure of these systems can contribute to Parkinson’s disease. More recently he has identified an important role for the tumour suppressor protein PTEN in the regulation of brain size during development. This research has important implications for understanding autism. Dr Howitt’s career includes positions at Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York and Imperial College London. He currently heads the Protein Trafficking and Signalling laboratory at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the University of Melbourne.