Dr Neil DawsonLecturer
My research interests are focused on further understanding the mechanisms through which genetic and environmental risk factors for psychiatric and neurodegenerative disease impact on brain functioning, behaviour and cognition. I also have a primary interest in developing and validating translational preclinical models for these diseases for utilization in the drug discovery process, in the hope that we can use these models to identify novel drugs to treat these disorders.
My current research projects include:-
- Understanding the mechanisms through which genetic and environmental risk factors for schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders alter brain and neurotransmitter system functioning, and also how these impact on cognition and behaviour
- Understanding the mechanisms through which genetically determined alterations in serotonin transporter expression alter the likelihood of developing depression and other affective disorders
- Applying network science and related algorithms to functional brain imaging data gained in a preclinical context to further understand how brain functioning is altered in psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders
Work in my laboratory is focused on utilizing preclinical models based on aetiologically relevant genetic and environmental risk factors for psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases to further understand the mechanisms through which these risk factors impact on the brain, behaviour and cognition. This includes elucidating how these risk factors impact on the connectivity of brain networks and on connectivity between the different neural subsystems within the brain. My work also aims to elucidate how these risk factors impinge on the functioning of neurotransmitter systems known to be dysfunctional in these psychiatric and neurodevelopmental diseases. In addition, utilizing these preclinical models in my laboratory we aim to validate novel drugs for the treatment of these diseases by assessing the ability of these compounds to reverse the deficits in brain function, connectivity and behaviour seen in these models.
I currently teach on the following modules:
BIOL 121 - Anatomy and Tissue Structure
BIOL 284 - Practical Physiology
BIOL 462 – Molecular Biology Skills
I was appointed as a Lecturer in Biomedicine with the Faculty of Health and Medicine in September 2013. My background is in Neuroscience (B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D., University of Edinburgh) but more recently my research has involved the application of mathematical algorithms to complex biological data sets, including brain imaging and metabolomics data, to gain greater insight into how these biological systems are disrupted in psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. My current research collaborators include: Prof. Judith Pratt (University of Strathclyde) and Prof. Brian Morris (University of Glasgow), Prof. Desmond Higham (University of Strathclyde), Dr Paul Kelly and Dr Henry Olverman (University of Edinburgh).
PhD Supervision Interests
I am able to supervise students undertaking research projects in the field of systems neuroscience, translational psychiatric drug discovery and behavioural neuroscience.
Glutamatergic regulation of cognition and functional brain connectivity: insights from pharmacological, genetic and translational schizophrenia research
Dauvermann, M.R., Lee, G., Dawson, N. 10/2017 In: British Journal of Pharmacology. 174, 19, p. 3136-3160. 25 p.
Thalamo-cortical communication, glutamatergic neurotransmission and neural oscillations: a unique window into the origins of ScZ?
Pratt, J., Dawson, N., Morris, B.J., Grent-'t-Jong, T., Roux, F., Uhlhaas, P.J. 02/2017 In: Schizophrenia Research. 180, p. 4-12. 9 p.
Altered functional brain network connectivity and glutamate system function in transgenic mice expressing truncated Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia 1
Dawson, N., Kurihara, M., Thomson, D.M., Winchester, C.L., McVie, A., Hedde, J.R., Randall, A.D., Shen, S., Seymour, P.A., Hughes, Z.A., Dunlop, J., Brown, J.T., Brandon, N.J., Morris, B.J., Pratt, J.A. 19/05/2015 In: Translational Psychiatry. 5, 12 p.
Functional brain connectivity phenotypes for schizophrenia drug discovery
Dawson, N., Morris, B.J., Pratt, J. 02/2015 In: Journal of Psychopharmacology. 29, 2, p. 169-177. 9 p.
Subanaesthetic ketamine treatment promotes abnormal interactions between neural subsystems and alters the properties of functional brain networks
Dawson, N., McDonald, M., Higham, D.J., Morris, B.J., Pratt, J.A. 06/2014 In: Neuropsychopharmacology. 39, 7, p. 1786-1798. 13 p.
Sustained NMDA receptor hypofunction induces compromised neural systems integration and schizophrenia-like alterations in functional brain networks
Dawson, N., Xiao, X., McDonald, M., Higham, D.J., Morris, B.J., Pratt, J.A. 02/2014 In: Cerebral Cortex. 24, 2, p. 452-464. 13 p.
Alternating hemiplegia of childhood-related neural and behavioural phenotypes in Na+, K+-ATPase a3 missense mutant mice
Kirshenbaum, G., Dawson, N., Mullins, J., Johnston, T., Drinkhill, M., Edwards, I., Fox, S., Pratt, J., Brotchie, J., Roder, J., Clapcote, S. 20/03/2013 In: PLoS ONE. 8, 3, 15 p.
Subanaesthetic ketamine treatment alters prefrontal cortex connectivity with thalamus and ascending subcortical systems
Dawson, N., Morris, B.J., Pratt, J.A. 2013 In: Schizophrenia Bulletin. 39, 2, p. 366-377. 12 p.
Modafinil reverses phencyclidine-induced deficits in cognitive flexibility, cerebral metabolism and functional brain connectivity
Dawson, N., Thompson, R.J., McVie, A., Thomson, D.M., Morris, B.J., Pratt, J.A. 1/09/2012 In: Schizophrenia Bulletin. 38, 3, p. 457-474. 18 p.
Advancing schizophrenia drug discovery: optimizing rodent models to bridge the translational gap
Pratt, J., Winchester, C., Dawson, N., Morris, B. 07/2012 In: Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. 11, p. 560-579. 20 p.
Exploring metabolic pathway disruption in the subchronic phencyclidine model of schizophrenia with the generalized singular value decomposition
Xiao, X., Dawson, N., MacIntyre, L., Morris, B., Pratt, J., Watson, D., Higham, D. 16/05/2011 In: BMC Systems Biology. 5
Cerbral metabolic responses to 5-HT2A/C receptor activation in mice with genetically modified serotonin transporter (SERT) expression
Dawson, N., Ferrington, L., Lesch, K., Kelly, P. 01/2011 In: European Neuropsychopharmacology. 21, 1, p. 117-128. 12 p.
Acute tryptophan depletion potentiates 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-induced cerebrovascular hyperperfusion in rats
van Donkelaar, E., Kelly, P., Dawson, N., Blokland, A., Prickaerts, J., Steinbusch, H., Ferrington, L. 15/05/2010 In: Journal of Neuroscience Research. 88, 7, p. 1557-1568. 12 p.
Sex influences the effect of a lifelong increase in serotonin transporter function on cerebral metabolism
Dawson, N., Ferrington, L., Olverman, H., Harmar, A., Kelly, P. 1/08/2009 In: Journal of Neuroscience Research. 87, 10, p. 2375-2385. 11 p.