Molecular Psychiatry

Institute for Behaviour, Sport and Rehabilitation

Our group investigates a number of psychiatric and related illnesses including drug abuse, autism, sleep and schizophrenia. We are also interested in basic neuroscience, including understanding the mechanisms involved in neurotransmitter release and synaptic plasticity.

Our research uses numerous cutting-edge techniques from genome-wide association studies (GWAS), through brain slices (voltammetry and patch-clamp) to rodent behavioural models.

Activities of the team

Prof Colin Davidson (group lead) studies the neurochemistry of drugs of abuse and is currently focussing on legal highs. He uses Fast cyclic voltammetry to detect levels of dopamine, 5-HT and noradrenaline in rodent tissue. He is also interested in the presynaptic control of transmitter release and the interactions between reuptake sites, autoreceptors and transmitter efflux. He has studied these mechanisms in relation to antidepressant action.
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”.

Colin has contributed to a recently published (2019) United Nations document on treatments for stimulant dependency.