Pharmacology and Neuroscience Research group
The Pharmacology and Neuroscience Research Group has a common interest in the neurobiology and treatment of brain disorders. The group is located within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences and has close collaborations with the DMU Bioanalytical Chemistry Research Group, with Universities of Oxford, Newcastle and Leicester, as well as with international institutions in Sweden, France, Germany, Romania, Italy and China.
By using a range of state-of-art molecular biological, neurochemical, behavioural and electrophysiological techniques, the group is particularly interested in investigating pathophysiological mechanisms and new therapeutic targets for neurological and psychiatric disorders including depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Niemann-Pick disease type C, pain disorders, neuromuscular disorders and brain tumours.
Members of the research group also have an active interest in developing new teaching methods for Pharmacology and Neuroscience, with particular focus on their application to Pharmacy Practice.
Recent highlights of the group include a number of publications in leading scientific journals demonstrating new mechanisms of action by drugs used in the treatment of ADHD, depression, schizophrenia, DMD and cancer.
The neuropharmacology group is interested in the action of drugs on brain function, with particular reference to how the brain changes structurally and functionally in response to drugs used in the treatment of psychiatric disorders including: depression, schizophrenia, ADHD and dementia.
For these purposes we are using a range of molecular techniques for the investigation of genes, proteins and neurotransmitters implicated in the mode of action of psychotropic drugs, as well as in vivo electrophysiological techniques to investigate their effects on neuronal activity.
Our current research focuses on the following fundamental questions:
- Why is there a delay in the onset of therapeutic effect by antidepressant drugs?
- What is the role of glutamate-dopamine interactions in the pathology and treatment of schizophrenia?
- What are the long-term effects of psychotropic drugs on the developing brain?
- What is the role of sphingolipids in antidepressant drug action?
Our research on neurobiological disorders uses a wide range of molecular and cellular techniques to investigate pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the pathology of neurobiological disorders including: Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Niemann-Pick disease type C, schizophrenia, pain disorders, neuromuscular disorders and brain tumours. We use a range of state-of-art techniques encompassing bioinformatics, cellular and molecular biology, primary cell culture, live-cell imaging, confocal microscopy, calcium imaging, organotypic cultures, organ bath experiments, neurochemistry, animal gene knockout and behaviour models as well as in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology.
The overall aim of this research is to understand the role of brain neuronal pathways, neurotransmitter systems, ion channel mechanisms, lipids, lysosomal and mitochondrial mechanisms, autophagy signalling mechanisms, gene expression and DNA damage in the pathology of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders.
Pharmacology and Patient-Centred Teaching
Members of the group are actively engaged in teaching all aspects of Pharmacology to our MPharm and Pharmaceutical Science Students. In our teaching we seek to translate the group’s vast and diverse expertise in cellular and molecular pharmacology to applied therapeutics. A novel patient-centred approach is central to the teaching of this discipline, as conceived and developed within the Leicester School of Pharmacy; the text-book Pharmacology for Pharmacy and the Health Sciences was tailor-written to complement this teaching practice, and is edited by members of the Research Group