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Dr Samantha McLean

PositionLecturer in Pharmacology
LocationNorcroft 2.16A
DepartmentSchool of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences
Feedback HoursMonday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
Telephone+44 (0) 1274 235809

Research Interests (key words only)

Cognition, Schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, neurodegeneration, animal models

Teaching and Supervisory Responsibilities

Pharmacy (MPharm):
Unit lead:
  • STM 1 Unit 4 – The Nervous System
  • STM 1 Unit 7 – Substance Misuse
  • STM 2 Unit 7 – Substance Misuse

Unit member:

  • STM 2 Unit 6 – Mental Health
  • Transport 2 Unit 1 – Respiratory System 1
  • Capability in Pharmacy stages 1, 2, 3 and 4
  • Personal Academic Tutor
  • Student Selected Component supervisor
  • Student Selected Assignment supervisor

Clinical Sciences

  • Integrated Medical Science (Stage 1)
  • Endocrinology and Neurobiology (Stage 2)
  • CNS Mechanisms, Disorders and Therapeutics (Stage 3)

MSc Drug Toxicology and Safety Pharmacology

  • Toxicology and Safety Pharmacology
  • Home Office Licence course

Administrative Responsibilities

  • MPharm Stage 3 Leader
  • Chair of Faculty Assembly
  • School Athena Swan self-assessment team member
  • Trained PSRTP Reviewer

Study History

  • BSc (Hons) First Class in Pharmacology, 2006, University of Leeds
  • PhD in Psychopharmacology, 2010, University of Bradford
  • Preclinical Certificate in Psychopharmacology, 2010, British Association of Psychopharmacology
  • Postgraduate Certificate of Higher Education Practice, 2013, University of Bradford

Professional History

  • 2010-2011: Post-doctoral research associate, B-neuro, University of Bradford
  • 2011- present: Lecturer in Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, University of Bradford

Professional Activities

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)
  • Associate Member of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology

Research Areas

Cognitive dysfunction is strongly associated with poor functional outcome and reduced quality of life, and remains an unmet clinical need. My research aims to increase our understanding of the neurochemical mechanisms underlying cognition - which are complex, involve a number of brain regions and different interacting neurotransmitter systems. Previously, using a pharmacological model of schizophrenia we have reported specific and selective deficits in behavioural tests of learning, memory and attention, accompanied by alterations in the dopaminergic and GABAergic systems.

Currently the treatments available for neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease) and psychiatric conditions where cognitive dysfunction is a key symptom (e.g. schizophrenia) are greatly unsuccessful; therefore there is an urgent need to develop new treatment strategies.

My main research interests are focused around:

  • Utilising preclinical models (genetic/pharmacological/environmental) to investigate the neural circuitry involved in the aetiology of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders
  • Investigating the neurochemistry underlying cognitive dysfunction in animal models using in vivo microdialysis
  • Developing novel behavioural tasks to assess performance across a number of cognitive domains

Current Projects

  • Real-time imaging of molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic dysfunction and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (Alzheimer’s Research UK equipment grant, 2016)
  • The role of dopamine in ageing: Identifying neurochemical alterations linked to age-dependent cognitive decline (Royal Society research grant, 2016)

Research Collaborations

  • Dr Andrew Young, University of Leicester
  • Dr Gisela Helfer, University of Bradford


See Samantha's publications on Bradford Scholars.

McLean SL, Harte MK, Neill JC, Young AMJ (2017). Dopamine dysregulation in the prefrontal cortex relates to cognitive deficits in the sub-chronic PCP-model for schizophrenia: a preliminary investigation. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 31: 660-666.

McLean SL, Grayson B, Marsh S, Zarroug SHO, Harte MK, Neill JC (2016). Nicotinic α7 and α4β2 agonists enhance the formation and retrieval of recognition memory: Potential mechanisms for cognitive performance enhancement in neurological and psychiatric disorders. Behavioural Brain Research, 302: 73–80.

McLean SL, Blenkinsopp A, Bennett MI (2013). Using haloperidol as an anti-emetic in palliative care: informing practice through evidence from cancer treatment and post-operative contexts. Journal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy, 27: 132-5.

McLean SL, Idris NF, Gendle DF, Grayson B, Lesage AS, Pemberton DJ, Neill JC (2012). PNU-120596, a positive allosteric modulator of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, improves a sub-chronic phencyclidine-induced cognitive deficit in the attentional set-shifting task in female rats. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 26: 1265-1270.

McLean SL, Grayson B, Idris NF, Lesage AS, Pemberton DJ, Mackie C, Neill JC (2011). Activation of α7 nicotinic receptors improves phencyclidine-induced deficits in cognitive tasks in rats: implications for therapy for cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 21: 333-343.

Snigdha S, Neill JC, McLean SL, Shemar GK, Cruise L, Shahid M, Henry B (2010). Phencyclidine (PCP)-induced disruption in cognitive performance is gender-specific and associated with a reduction in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in specific regions of the female rat brain. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience, 43: 337-345.

McLean SL, Neill JC, Idris NF, Marston HM, Wong EHF, Shahid M (2010). Effects of asenapine, olanzapine, and risperidone on psychotomimetic-induced reversal-learning deficits in the rat. Behavioural Brain Research, 214: 240-247.

Neill JC, Barnes S, Cook S, Grayson B, Idris NF, McLean SL, Snigdha S, Rajagopal L, Harte M (2010). Animal models of cognitive dysfunction and negative symptoms of schizophrenia: focus on NMDA receptor antagonism. Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 128: 419-432.

McLean SL, Woolley ML, Neill JC (2010). Effects of sub-chronic phencyclidine on behaviour of female rats on the elevated plus maze and open field. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 24: 787-790.

McLean SL, Grayson B, Harris M, Protheroe C, Bate S, Woolley ML, Neill JC (2010). Isolation rearing impairs novel object recognition and attentional set shifting performance in female rats. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 24: 57-63.

McLean SL, Woolley ML, Thomas D, Neill JC (2009). Role of 5-HT receptor mechanisms in sub-chronic PCP-induced reversal learning deficits in the rat. Psychopharmacology (Berl), 206: 403-414.

McLean SL, Woolley ML, Neill JC (2009). D1-like receptor activation improves PCP-induced cognitive deficits in animal models: implications for mechanisms of improved cognitive function in schizophrenia. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 19: 440-450.

McLean SL, Beck JP, Woolley ML, Neill JC (2008). A preliminary investigation into the effects of antipsychotics on sub-chronic phencyclidine-induced deficits in attentional set-shifting in female rats. Behavioural Brain Research, 189: 152-158.

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