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Professor Colin Davidson

Head of School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Colin Davidson is a neuropharmacologist and neurochemist. His main current interest is in drug abuse, and he has recently studied a number of legal highs. He is particularly interested in their pharmacology and their effects on transmitter release. Previously he has tested novel pharmacotherapies for stimulant abuse. He has also published in the field of Stroke where he has an interest in pre-ischaemic conditioning. His PhD was in the field of antidepressants and 5-HT efflux.

Colin Davidson undertook a PhD with Jon Stamford in London where he used fast cyclic voltammetry in brain slices to examine acute and long-term effects of SSRIs on 5-HT efflux and presynaptic control of transmitter release. Moving to The University of St Andrews to do a postdoc, Colin worked with Eric Bowman and Verity Brown on the brain reward system, especially the role of accumbens dopamine in food reward. Moving to Duke University in North Carolina, Colin undertook a postdoc with the late Everett Ellinwood in the Psychiatry Department, examining novel pharmacotherapeutics for cocaine and methamphetamine abuse. Here he made use of models of addiction such as locomotor sensitisation, conditioned place preference and drug self-administration. He was promoted to Assistant Professor in Psychiatry in 2000 and stayed at Duke until 2007. Moving back to the UK Colin worked in the School of Psychology at the University of Leicester, working closely with Andrew Young and Claire Gibson on an in vitro model of stroke. In 2010 Colin moved to St George’s University of London as a Senior Lecturer in Neuropharmacology where he developed an interest in legal highs and worked closely with Fabrizio Schifano (University of Hertfordshire) and Jolanta Opacko-Juffry (University of Roehampton).

In September 2018 Colin presented his research into ‘legal highs’ as part of the British Science Festival, which took place in Hull and the Humber.

Colin has had an article published on The Conversation about the dangers of ‘legal highs’ entitled “Legal highs’ may be more dangerous than traditional drugs of abuse”.

  • Ph.D. Neuropharmacology, The London Hospital Medical college, Queen Mary’s & Westfield University, University of London, 1996
  • Pg.Dip. Neuroscience, The Royal (Dick) Veterinary College, University of Edinburgh, 1990
  • Pg.Cert. Healthcare and Biomedical Education, St George’s University of London, 2012
  • B.Sc. Biological Sciences (Hons Psychology), University of Edinburgh, 1989
  • Editorial Board European Journal of Pharmacology
  • Editorial Board Progress in neuropharmacology & Biological Psychiatry
  • External Examiner MSc Neuroscience Nottingham Trent University
  • External Examiner MSc Pharmacology Nottingham Trent University
  • External Examiner BSc Biology, University of Cumbria
  • External Examiner FD Biomedical Science, Leeds City College
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • British Pharmacological Society
  • British Neuroscience Association
  • International Society for Neurochemistry
  • MPharm
  • BSc Biomedical Science