The pharmacology of the nervous system, or neuropharmacology, is a core feature of the research carried out in the Department. Neuropharmacology is an exciting field not only because there are still very little effective treatments available to treat psychiatric or neurological disorders, but also because the mechanisms of action of those drugs available remain poorly understood. Neuropharmacology is therefore a very active field of research with major public health implications.
The research in neuropharmacology carried out in the Department by the groups of John Apergis-Schoute, David Belin, Brian Billups and Ewan Smith aims at addressing this challenge from an integrative point of view, ranging from neuropsychopharmacology to the neurobiological underpinnings of normal and pathological neuronal communication and the molecular substrates of brain function. While Brian Billups’ group is interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of synaptic transmission and their dysregulation in pathophysiological conditions, Ewan Smith’s group aims at tackling the neurobiological substrates of respiratory regulation and pain using the original naked mole rat model. The groups of John Apergis-Schoute and David Belin are interested in the neural and cellular substrates of impulse control, emotion, feeding behaviour and their associated pathological states such as gambling, anorexia, compulsive disorders and addiction.
Our research depends on state of the art techniques including optogenetics, DREADD technology, patch-clamp and extracellular electrophysiology, as well as sophisticated animal models for impulsive and compulsive disorders.