Radcliffe Medical Tutorial Fellow in Neuroscience; Professor of Neuropharmacology; Harassment Officer
At Univ I am a tutor in Pre-clinical Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and also contribute as a tutor in Experimental Psychology. My principal teaching is to first and second year students in the subject of neuroscience and I cover many aspects, ranging from the ionic and molecular basis of synaptic transmission through to the neurophysiology of motor, visual and auditory systems. I teach third year students in more advanced areas of neuroscience, in particular the neurobiology and treatment of psychiatric disorders which are closely linked to my research.
In the University’s Department of Pharmacology I teach basic and advanced aspects of drug action in the brain and periphery to first and second year medical and biomedical science students, and to graduate students taking our MSc Pharmacology course. I also organise the Neuroscience option for third year medical and biomedical science students.
My research focusses on the pharmacological and physiological properties of neurons in the brain, and especially those that utilise the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT). The latter neurons are targeted by many drugs used in psychiatry, and thought to be a key player in the cause of common illnesses such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. We are using a range of neurophysiological, molecular and genetic approaches to investigate the fundamental properties of serotonin neurons in experimental models. We use information gained from these studies to learn more about how serotonin signals in complex brain microcircuits comprising thousands of neurons to influence behaviour. We also learn how such signals are changed by serotonin targeted drugs as well as genetic and environmental factors that put individuals at risk of mental health problems. We work in close collaboration with clinical scientists to apply the knowledge that we obtain from our basic studies. One of our ongoing projects is a multi-centre translational study developing a novel agent to help control impulsivity, which is linked to a range of mental health problems including bipolar depression, suicide, self-harm and compulsive gambling.
Sengupta A, Bocchio M, Bannerman DM, Sharp T, Capogna M (2017) Control of amygdala circuits by 5-HT neurons via 5-HT and glutamate cotransmission. J. Neuroscience 37:1785-1796. See: jneurosci.org
Bocchio M, McHugh SB, Bannerman DM, Sharp T, Capogna M (2016) Serotonin, amygdala and fear: assembling the puzzle. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 10:24. See: doi.org
Sharp T. (2013) Molecular and cellular mechanisms of antidepressant action. Current Topics Behav Neurosci. 14:309-25. See: springer.com
Singh N., Halliday A.C., Thomas J.M., Kuznetsova O., Baldwin R., Woon E.C.Y., Aley P.K., Antoniadou I., Sharp T., Vasudevan S.R., Churchill G.C. (2013) A safe lithium mimetic for bipolar disorder. Nature Communications, 4:1332. See: nature.com
Sharp T. and Cowen P.J. (2011) 5-HT and depression: is the glass half-full? Current Opinion in Pharmacology 11:45-51. See: sciencedirect.com
Sharp T. (2009) Neurotransmitters and signalling. New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry (Editors: Gelder M, Lopez-Ibor J.J., Andreasen N.C., Geddes J.), Oxford University Press, 168-176. See: oxfordmedicine.com
Temel Y., Visser-Vandewalle V., Boothman L., Magill P., Raley J. R., Blokland A., Steinbusch H.W.M. and Sharp T. (2007) Inhibition of 5-HT neurone activity and induction of depressive like behaviour by high frequency stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus. Proc. Nat. Acad Sci. 104: 17087-92. See: pnas.org