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

Deletion of a stem cell factor promotes traumatic brain injury recovery in mice (Sat, 18 Nov 2017)
Researchers found that conditional deletion of Sox2 – the gene encoding the SOX2 stem cell transcription factor – and the associated dampening of astrocyte reactivity appear to promote functional recovery, including behavioral recovery, after traumatic brain injury.
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Hibernating ground squirrels provide clues to new stroke treatments (Sat, 18 Nov 2017)
In the fight against brain damage caused by stroke, researchers have turned to an unlikely source of inspiration: hibernating ground squirrels. While the animals' brains experience dramatically reduced blood flow during hibernation, just like human patients after a certain type of stroke, the squirrels emerge from their extended naps suffering no ill effects. Now, scientists have identified a potential drug that could grant the same resilience to stroke patients.
>> Read More