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Dr. Andrew Harkin

Associate Professor in Pharmacology (Pharmacy)

Andrew Harkin is Associate Professor of Pharmacology in The School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences in Trinity College Dublin and a principle investigator in Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. He leads a neuropsychopharmacology research group which is focused on bridging neuroscience to the pharmacological treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders. Current research interests include- - bidirectional nervous system immune interactions, the role of inflammation in the pathogenesis, and potential of anti-inflammatory agents in treating, psychiatric disorders. - targeting the N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor and the NMDA-nitric oxide-cGMP intra-neuronal signalling in stress related psychiatric disorders. Professor Harkin's research program is funded by the European Commission (Framework 7), Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology, His group collaborates widely with a variety of academic and industrial partners on fundamental and clinical projects.
  Addiction and substance abuse   Depression   Emotional, behavioural and cognitive disorders   Imaging Techniques   In vitro testing, trial methods   Neurobiology   Neurochemistry and neuropharmacology   Neuropharmacology   Neuroscience   Psychiatry
 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
Gibney S, Fagan EM, Waldron AM, O'Byrne J, Connor TJ, Harkin A , Inhibition of stress-induced heaptic tryptophan 2,3 di-oxygenase exhibits antidepressant activity in an animal model of depressive behaviour, International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 17, (6), 2014, p917 - 928, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
O'Donovan S*, Dalton VS*, Harkin A, McLoughlin DM; * joint first author, Effects of brief pulse and ultrabrief pulse electroconvulsive stimulation on rodent brain and behaviour in the corticosterone model of depression. , International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. DOI: 10.1017/S1461145714000500, 17, (9), 2014, p1477 - 1486, Journal Article, IN_PRESS  DOI
Gigliucci V, Gormley S, Gibney S, Rouine J, Kerskens C, Connor TJ, Harkin A, Characterisation of the antidepressant properties of nitric oxide synthase inhibitors in the olfactory bulcectomised rat model of depression, European Neuropsychopharmacology, 24, (8), 2014, p1349 - 1361, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Frodl T, Carballedo A, Frey EM, O'Keane V, Skokauskas N, Morris D, Gill M, Hughes MM, Harkin A, Connor T, Expression of glucocorticoid inducible genes is associated with reductions in cornu ammonis and dentate gyrus volumes in patients with major depressive disorder., Development and psychopathology, 26, (4 Pt 2), 2014, p1209-17 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Rouine J, Kelly ME, Jennings-Murphy C, Duffy P, Gorman I, Gormley S, Kerskens CM, Harkin A, Investigation of the mechanisms mediating MDMA "Ecstasy"-induced increases in cerebro-cortical perfusion determined by btASL MRI., Psychopharmacology, 2014, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Pertl, M.M., Hevey, D., Boyle, N.T., Hughes, M.M., Collier, S., O'Dwyer, A.M., Harkin, A., Kennedy, M.J., & Connor, T.J., C-reactive prtoein predicts fatigue independently of depression in breast cancer patients prior to chemotherapy, Brain Behaviour and Immunity, 34, 2013, p108 - 119, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Ryan KJ, Griffin E, Yssel JD, Ryan KM, McNamee EN, Harkin A, Connor TJ, Stimulation of central ß2-adrenoceptors suppresses NF"B activity in rat brain: A role for I"B., Neurochemistry international, 63, (5), 2013, p368-378 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Rouine J, Gobbo OL, Campbell M, Gigliucci V, Ogden I, McHugh Smith K, Duffy P, Behan B, Byrne D, Kelly ME, Blau CW, Kerskens CM, Harkin A, MDMA 'ecstasy' increases cerebral cortical perfusion determined by bolus-tracking arterial spin labelling (btASL) MRI., British journal of pharmacology, 169, (5), 2013, p974-87 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Gigliucci V, O'Dowd G, Casey S, Egan D, Gibney S, Harkin A, Ketamine elicits sustained antidepressant-like activity via a serotonin-dependent mechanism., Psychopharmacology, 228, (1), 2013, p157-66 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Doucet MV, Levine H, Dev KK, Harkin A, Small-Molecule Inhibitors at the PSD-95/nNOS Interface have Antidepressant-Like Properties in Mice., Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 38, (8), 2013, p1575-1584 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI

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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.