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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 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
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
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 Practise, Mar 29, 2017, p1 - 10, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Abautret-Daly Á, Dempsey E, Riestra S, de Francisco-García R, Parra-Blanco A, Rodrigo L, Medina C, Connor TJ, Harkin A., Gut-brain actions underlying comorbid anxiety and depression associated with inflammatory bowel disease, Acta Neuropsychiatr, March 8, 2017, p1 - 22, Review Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Novel Targets in the Glutamate and Nitric Oxide Neurotransmitter Systems for the Treatment of Depression in, editor(s) , Systems Neuroscience in Depression, 2016, pp81-113 , [O'Toole, E., Doucet, M.V., Sherwin, E., Harkin, A.], Notes: [ ( Book Chapter) ], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  DOI
Ryan K.M, Griffin à .W, Ryan K.J, Tanveer R, Vanattou-Saifoudine N, McNamee E.N, Fallon E, Heffernan S, Harkin A, Connor T.J, Clenbuterol activates the central IL-1 system via the β2-adrenoceptor without provoking inflammatory response related behaviours in rats, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 56, 2016, p114 - 129, Notes: [Export Date: 26 September 2016], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Hughes M.M, Connor T.J, Harkin A, Stress-Related Immune Markers in Depression: Implications for Treatment, International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 19, (6), 2016, p1 - 19, Notes: [Export Date: 26 September 2016], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL
Maria N.I, van Helden-Meeuwsen C.G, Brkic Z, Paulissen S.M.J, Steenwijk E.C, Dalm V.A, van Daele P.L, Martin van Hagen P, Kroese F.G.M, van Roon J.A.G, Harkin A, Dik W.A, Drexhage H.A, Lubberts E, Versnel M.A, Association of Increased Treg Cell Levels With Elevated Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase Activity and an Imbalanced Kynurenine Pathway in Interferon-Positive Primary Sjögren's Syndrome, Arthritis and Rheumatology, 68, (7), 2016, p1688 - 1699, Notes: [Export Date: 26 September 2016], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
O'Neill E, Kwok B, Day J.S, Connor T.J, Harkin A, Amitriptyline protects against TNF-α-induced atrophy and reduction in synaptic markers via a Trk-dependent mechanism, Pharmacology Research and Perspectives, 4, (2), 2016, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL

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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.