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Dr. Andrew Harkin

Associate Professor in Pharmacology (Pharmacy)

Deputy Director of TCIN (Trinity Inst. of Neurosciences (TCIN))

Andrew Harkin is Associate Professor in Pharmacology in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Trinity College Dublin. He is a graduate of NUI Galway (B.Sc. 1994; Ph.D. 1998) and prior to joining Trinity College held a lecturing post in the School of Pharmacy, University College Cork. He was elected to Fellowship in Trinity College in 2011. Over the course of his research career he worked in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Safety Pharmacology Laboratories at H. Lunbeck A/S Valby, Copenhagen and has held post-doctoral research fellowships funded by the Higher Education Authority (Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions) and the Health Research Board of Ireland (career development award, 2002). He leads the Neuropsychopharmacology Research Group in Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN) funded by the European Commission (Framework 7 - Brain Imaging Return to Health [R'Birth], a Marie Curie international training network for early stage and experienced researchers and MOODINFLAME; a collaborative, large-scale focused research project with a variety of academic and industrial partners focused on early diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders targeting the activated inflammatory response system. He has also received project funding from Science Foundation Ireland, Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology. His group collaborates with a variety of academic and industrial partners on fundamental and clinical projects. Current research interests include bi-directional nervous system immune interactions, the role of stress and inflammation in the pathogenesis of mental illness, potential of anti-inflammatory agents in treating psychiatric disorders, targeting glutamate neuronal transmission in neuropsychiatric disorders and safety pharmacology of recreational drugs. He has co-authored 100 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and over 150 published abstracts/conference proceedings and has delivered numerous invited lectures and oral presentations at international conferences, workshops and various research institutions. He is a member of the International College of Neuropsychopharmacolgy (CINP), the British Association for Psychopharmacology (BAP) and the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society (PNIRS) and is a past recipient of the CINP's Rafaelsen award in recognition of his commitment to the field of neuropsychopharmacology. He is on the editorial boards of a number of journals including Acta Neuropsychiatrica, Brain Behavior and Immunity, PLOS ONE, and Frontiers in Neuropharmacology and Behavioural Neuroscience. He is a founder member of the Depression Interest Group, currently serves as deputy director of the Institute of Neuroscience and chairs the Animal Research Ethics Committee in Trinity College. He has a long standing track record in mentoring and training of PhD students, 17 students having completed to date, and has participated in PhD training programmes in TCIN funded under the auspices of the PRTLI. He currently teaches on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes in TCD including the Pharmacy degree, B.A. Moderatorship in Neuroscience, B.Sc. Human Health and Disease and M.Sc. programmes in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology, Neuroscience, Biological Psychiatry and Molecular Medicine and is former Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
  Addiction and substance abuse   Animal Research Policy   Depression   Emotional, behavioural and cognitive disorders   Ethics/Values in Science and Technology   Histology   Histology, Cytochemistry, Histochemistry   Imaging Techniques   In vitro testing, trial methods   MDMA ("Ecstasy")   Medicine   Neurobiology   Neurochemistry and neuropharmacology   Neurodegeneration   Neuroimaging   Neuroimmunology   Neuropharmacology   Neuroplasticity   Neuroscience   Neurotoxicity   PHARMACODYNAMICS   PHARMACOKINETIC   PHARMACOLOGICAL CHARACTERIZATION   PHARMACOLOGICAL EVIDENCE   PHARMACOLOGICAL TREATMENT   PHARMACOLOGY   Physiology   Psychiatry   Stress Response, Neuroanatomy
 Brain Imaging Return to Health
 Early diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders targeting the activated inflammatory response system.
 Neuronal nitric oxide synthase: A novel target for antidepressant activity
 Caffeine exacerbates the acute toxicity of 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; "Ecstasy"): A role for dopamine ?
 Caffeine promotes hyperthermia and serotonergic loss following co-administration of the substituted amphetamines, MDMA

Details Date From Date To
Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society 2010 present
Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum 2003 present
British Pharmacological Society 2003 present
British Association for Psychopharmacology 1997 present
Neuroscience Ireland 2012 Present
Griffin, E.W., Yssel, J.D., O Neill, E., Ryan, K.J., Boyle, N., Harper, P., Harkin, A. and Connor, T., The beta2-adrenoceptor agonist clenbuterol reduces the neuroinflammatory response, neutrophil infiltration and apoptosis following intra-striatal IL-1β administration to rats, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology, 2018, p1-8 , Notes: [cited By 0; Article in Press], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Yssel, J.D., O'Neill, E., Nolan, Y.M., Connor, T.J., Harkin, A., Treatment with the noradrenaline re-uptake inhibitor atomoxetine alone and in combination with the alpha2-adrenoceptor antagonist idazoxan attenuates loss of dopamine and associated motor deficits in the LPS inflammatory rat model of Parkinson's disease, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 69, 2018, p456-469 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Tropea, D. and Harkin, A., Biology of Brain Disorders, Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience - e collection, Frontiers Media SA academic publisher, 2017, Notes: [Editorial], Book, PUBLISHED  DOI
Sherwin E, Gigliucci V, Harkin A, Regional specific modulation of neuronal activation associated with nitric oxide synthase inhibitors in an animal model of antidepressant activity, Behavioural Brain Research, 316, 2017, p18 - 28, Notes: [Export Date: 26 September 2016], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
McIntosh A.L, Gormley S, Tozzi L, Frodl T, Harkin A, Recent advances in translational magnetic resonance imaging in animal models of stress and depression, Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 11, 2017, p00150-, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL
O'Farrell K, Fagan E, Connor T.J, Harkin A, Inhibition of the kynurenine pathway protects against reactive microglial-associated reductions in the complexity of primary cortical neurons, European Journal of Pharmacology, 810, 2017, p163 - 173, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
O'Farrell, K., Harkin, A., Stress-related regulation of the kynurenine pathway: Relevance to neuropsychiatric and degenerative disorders, Neuropharmacology, (112), 2017, p307 - 323, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Abautret-Daly Á, Dempsey E, Riestra S, de Francisco-García R, Parra-Blanco A, Rodrigo L, Medina C, Connor TJ, Harkin A., Association between psychological measures with inflammatory and disease related markers of inflammatory bowel disease, International Journal of Psychiatry & Clinical Practice, 21, (3), 2017, p221 - 230, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Doolin, K., Farrell, C., Tozzi, L., Harkin, A., Frodl, T., O Keane, V., Diurnal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis measures and inflammatory marker correlates in major depressive disorder, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 18, (10), 2017, Notes: [cited By 1], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Sherwin, E., Lennon, A., Harkin, A., Regional specific modulation of stress-induced neuronal activation associated with the PSD95/NOS Interaction Inhibitor ZL006 in the Wistar Kyoto rat, International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 20, (10), 2017, p833-843 , Notes: [cited By 0], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI

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McLoughlin, D.; Finnegan, M.; Ryan, K., Harkin, A., The KEEP-WELL trial (NCT02414932) - ketamine for depression relapse prevention following ECT, European Neuropsychopharmacology, 30th Congress of the European-College-of-Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) , Paris, France, September 2017, 27, 2017, ppS542 - 543, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
Doolin, K., Frodl, T., Harkin, A., O'Keane, V., Altered circulating kynurenine pathway expression in pregnant women with perinatal depression., World Psychiatric Association, World Congress of Psychiatry, Berlin, Germany, 2017, 2017, Poster, PUBLISHED
Doolin, K., Harkin, A., Frodl, T., O'Keane, V. , Relationship between hippocampal subfield volumes and cortisol awakening response parameters in Major Depressive Disorder, European Neuropsychopharmacology, 30th ECNP Congress , Paris, France, 2017, 27, (4), 2017, ppS521--, Poster, PUBLISHED
Bornemann KD, Welland M, Doolin K, O'Keane V, Harkin A, Hengerer B, Allers KA, Modifying the kynurenine pathway as a potential therapy to treat patients with depression, Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Washington DC, 2017, 2017, Published Abstract, PUBLISHED
Doucet, M., Levine, H., Dev, K.K., Harkin, A., Small molecule inhibitors at the PSD95 NOS interface have antidepressant like properties in mice, Irish Journal of Medical Science, Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, Biomedical Sciences Section, Summer meeting, University College Cork, 2013, 185, 2016, ppS101 - 102, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
Yssel, J.D., Connor, T.J., Harkin, A., Pharmacological enhancement of noradrenaline as a target to limit neuroinflammation in Parkinson's disease, Irish Journal of Medical Science, Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, University College Dublin, June, 2014, 185, 2016, ppS24-, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
Farrell, C.; O'Keane, V.; Harkin, A. et al.,, Association of maternal emotional abuse with decreased serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) methylation, European Neuropsychopharmacology, 29th Congress of the European-College-of-Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) , Vienna, Austria, October, 2016, 26, 2016, ppS177-, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
Harkin, A.; McIntosh, A.; Sherwin, E.; et al., Evaluation of NMDA signalling modifiers as putative antidepressants in animal models, European Neuropsychopharmacology, 29th Congress of the European-College-of-Neuropsychopharmacology , Vienna, Austria, October 2016, 26, 2016, ppS177 - P.1.a.024, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
Yssel, Justin D.; Connor, Thomas; Harkin, Andrew, Targeting the noradrenergic system for anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective actions in an animal model of Parkinson's disease, Irish Journal of Medical Science, Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, Biomedical Sciences Section Annual Meeting, May 2016, 185, 2016, ppS181-, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
McIntosh, A.; Gormley, S.; Harkin, A., Disrupting astrocyte function in the prelimbic cortex induces a depressive-like phenotype and alters cerebral perfusion, European Neuropsychopharmacology, ECNP Workshop for Junior Scientists in Europe Location, Nice, France, 2016, 26, 2016, ppS101 - 102, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED


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Award Date
Health Research Board career development fellowship 2002
CINP Young Investigator Award. 2004
Fellowship Trinity College Dublin 2011
My research falls within the remit of Neuropsychopharmacology, a discipline that links basic neuroscience to the pharmacological treatment of psychiatric and neurological disease. Selected examples of projects in these areas are outlined below: 1. Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (ITN): FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN Brain Imaging Return to Health "reBIRTH" see The r'BIRTH consortium is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network that gathers experts on molecular mechanisms of age-associated pathologies including neurodegeneration and depression. They work together to identify stress-regulated molecules provoking neuronal atrophy and hindering neurogenesis (birth of new neurons), and monitor the consequences of these processes in human brain that contribute to cognitive decline and increased depressive and anxiety disorders associated with ageing. The work is funded by the European Commission (FP7) under the sub-programme PEOPLE (Marie Curie Actions). 16 early stage researchers will be trained in the topics of the programme i.e. molecular imaging (MRI), proteomics, immunotechnology, high content screening, molecular neuroscience, neuropharmacology and patient studies. The training is provided by seven universities, two private companies and one non-profit research organisation from 7 European countries. 2. Early diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders targeting the activated inflammatory response system [Acronym: MOODINFLAME] Our research group is funded under EU FP7 as part of a collaborative, large-scale research project entitled "Early diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders targeting the activated inflammatory response system. [Acronym: MOODINFLAME]. A consortium of 14 European Universities/Research Institutes and 4 SMEs have come together for this project with the overall objective of developing biomarker tests for mood disorder patients based on an activated inflammatory response system (IRS) and inflammation-mediated disturbances in tryptophan metabolism. As part of this programme patients are treated with drugs to counteract the consequences of an activated IRS/disturbed metabolism of tryptophan. The project leads to an enhanced understanding of the pathogenesis of inflammation-related mood disorders, and of the mechanism of anti-inflammatory drugs and drugs targeting tryptophan metabolism in treating depressive behaviour. 3. Neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS): a novel target for antidepressant action. Inhibition of NMDA-R has shown considerable promise as a drug target to produce new antidepressants that work faster, and are more effective than existing antidepressants. We hypothesise that targeting signalling events down-stream of NMDA-R may provide a more viable approach. nNOS is a down stream target of NMDA-R. We have published a number of original papers demonstrating that 1) NOS inhibitors have antidepressant properties 2) such properties are dependent on endogenous serotonin and 3) NOS inhibitors can augment the effects of conventional antidepressants in preclinical models. Currently our research is assessing the efficacy of nNOS inhibitors as novel antidepressant agents. A future aim is to determine if uncoupling the NMDA-R from nNOS can elicit antidepressant actions. This work is funded by the Health research board.