welcome to the parker lab!


We are very excited that our new aquarium facility is ready!

about us

The Parker Lab was established in 2015, and is based at the University of Portsmouth. 

what we do

In the Parker lab, we adopt a ‘bench to bedside’ approach to study the basis of compulsive behavioural disorders. In our basic research, we use zebrafish as a model species try to understand the biology of compulsive disorders. In particular, we want to understand more about the interaction between molecular (genetic/epigenetic) and environmental (e.g., alcohol, stress) factors that cause compulsive behaviours, and the associated neural circuits, to manifest. Our approach is theoretically guided by the principle that understanding the biology of neuropsychiatric conditions will help develop more effective treatments for patients. This work involves significant amounts of method development, owing to the paucity of validated, reliable measure in zebrafish. We also carry out preclinical/translational research in humans, in particular looking at the interactions of impulsivity/compulsivity and stress on addiction and relapse. In our clinical research, we apply our findings in the laboratory to test important clinical questions relating to compulsive disorders, such as addiction and relapse (in humans) and stereotypic behaviours in domestic, farm and laboratory animals. 

our research falls into three programmatic streams:

 

1) Basic neural and behavioural biology of impulsive/compulsive disorders.

 

2) Stereotypic (compulsive, repetitive) behaviour in captive/domestic animals.

 

3) The effects of drugs (e.g., alcohol) during early brain development on behaviour and cognition.


Mind & Brain News -- ScienceDaily

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By studying the genome of a kind of octopus not known for its friendliness toward its peers, then testing its behavioral reaction to a popular mood-altering drug called MDMA or 'ecstasy,' scientists say they have found preliminary evidence of an evolutionary link between the social behaviors of the sea creature and humans, species separated by 500 million years on the evolutionary tree.
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Drug overdose epidemic has been growing exponentially for decades (Thu, 20 Sep 2018)
Death rates from drug overdoses in the US have been on an exponential growth curve that began at least 15 years before the mid-1990s surge in opioid prescribing, suggesting that overdose death rates may continue along this same historical growth trajectory for years to come. These findings suggest that, to be successful, prevention efforts must extend beyond control of specific drugs to address deeper factors driving the epidemic.
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