Prof. Jolanta Opacka-Juffry

Professor of Neuroscience; Director of Health Sciences Research Centre

Department of Life Sciences


Professor Jolanta Opacka-Juffry is a neuroscientist with a long-standing interest and expertise in experimental models of human brain disorders, such as Parkinson's disease (PD), Huntington's disease and more recently depression and effects of early life stress and social stress. In particular, she is interested in long term effects of prenatal and early postnatal stress on the brain neuroregulatory systems and glial plasticity. In addition, she is researching brain responses to drugs of abuse, in particular novel psychoactive drugs, formerly known as 'legal highs,' in collaboration with St George's, University of London.

Whilst working at the MRC Cyclotron Unit MRC Clinical Centre, she was involved in brain modelling and preclinical studies supporting new developments in positron emission tomography (PET) brain imaging in PD and depression. Her contribution to research on neurodegeneration includes among others experimental studies on neuroprotective properties of the glial derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), an endogenous brain factor which was finally tested in clinical trials for PD.

Since 1999 she has been lecturing neurobiology and clinical neuroscience at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the University of Roehampton, London. She has been instrumental in setting up and developing the purpose built, high specification biomedical sciences laboratories comprising a substantial investment of HEFCE funds at Roehampton. She has supervised and co-supervised eight PhD projects and over 80 MSc dissertations in the area of clinical neuroscience. She is committed to and recognised for her contribution to public engagement in research. 




Research interests

Research projects undertaken

Membership of professional bodies

Consultancy experience

Consultancies undertaken

Teaching interests



 Lord V and Opacka-Juffry J (2016) Electroencephalography (EEG) Measures of Neural Connectivity in the Assessment of Brain Responses to Salient Auditory Stimuli in Patients with Disorders of Consciousness.Front. Psychol., 22 March 2016 |

 Shende VH, McArthur S, Gillies GE and Opacka-Juffry J (2015) Astroglial plasticity is implicated in hippocampal remodelling in adult rats exposed to antenatal dexamethasone. Neural Plasticity, 2015:694347. doi: 10.1155/2015/694347

Mohiyeddini C and Opacka-Juffry J (2015) Disentangling the link between Depressive Symptoms and Plasma Oxytocin in Men: The Role of Brooding Rumination. Hormones and Behaviour 75:142-9

Mohiyeddini C, Opacka-Juffry J, Gross JJ (2014) Emotional suppression explains the link between early life stress and plasma oxytocin. Anxiety, Stress & Coping  2: 466-475.

Opacka-Juffry J, Pinnel T, Patel N, BevanM, Meintel M and Davidson C. (2014) Stimulant mechanisms of cathinones - Effects of mephedrone and other cathinones on basal and electrically evoked dopamine efflux in rat accumbens brain slices. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 54:122-130

Dawson P, Opacka-Juffry J, Moffatt JD, Daniju Y, Dutta N, Ramsey J, Davidson C. (2014)The effects of benzofury (5-APB) on the dopamine transporter and 5-HT2-dependent vasoconstriction in the rat. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2013 Sep 4. doi:pii: S0278-5846(13)00187-5. 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2013.08.013. [Epub ahead of print]

Paper nominated to the Scientific Paper Award 2014 by the the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)


Petros N, Opacka-Juffry J, Huber JH. (2013) Psychometric and neurobiological assessment of resilience in a non-clinical sample of adults. Psychoneuroendocrinology. doi:pii: S0306-4530(13)001170.10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.03.022. [Epub ahead of print]

Wells L, Opacka-Juffry J, Fisher D, Ledent C, Hourani S, Kitchen I. (2012)In vivo dopaminergic and behavioral responses to acute cocaine are altered in adenosine A(2A) receptor knockout mice. Synapse 66(5):383-90.doi: 10.1002/syn.21527. Epub 2012 Feb 15.

Opacka-Juffry J, Mohiyeddini C. (2012)Experience of stress in childhood negatively correlates with plasma oxytocin concentration in adult men.
Stress 15(1):1-10. doi: 10.3109/10253890.2011.560309. Epub 2011 Jun 19.

Leventopoulos M., Russig H., Feldon J., Pryce C.R. and Opacka-Juffry J. (2009) Early deprivation leads to long-term reductions in motivation for reward and 5-HT1A binding and both effects are reversed by fluoxetine. Neuropharmacology 56: 692-701

Opacka-Juffry J. (2008) Serotonin as a Neurotransmitter in Health and Illness - invited review. Br. J. Neurosci. Nursing 4, 6, 272-277

Castane A., Wells L., Soria G., Hourani S., Ledent C., Kitchen I., Opacka-Juffry J., Maldonado R. and Valverde O. (2008) Behavioural and biochemical responses to morphine associated with its motivational properties are altered in adenosine A2A receptor knockout mice. Br. J. Pharmacol., 155:757-66

Leventopoulos M., D. Rüedi-Bettschen, C. R. Pryce, I. Knüsel, P. Feldon and J. Opacka–Juffry (2007) Long-term effects of early life deprivation on brain glia in Fischer rats. Brain Res., 1142: 119-126.

Idiculla J., Shirazi N., Opacka-Juffry J. and Ganapathi (2004) Diabetic amyotrophy: a brief review. Natl. Med. J. India, 17: 200-202.

Stanley S.A., K.G. Murphy, G.A. Bewick, W.M. Kong, J.Opacka-Juffry, J.V. Gardiner, M. Ghatei, C.J. Small and S.R. Bloom (2004) Regulation of pituitary cocaine- and apmhetamine-regulated transcript (CART) by CRF and glucocorticoids. Am. J. Physiol. (Endocrinology and Metabolism) 287: 583-90.

Hume S.P., E. Hirani, J. Opacka-Juffry, R. Myers, C. Townsend, V.W. Pike and P. Grasby (2001) Effect of 5-HT on binding of [11C] WAY 100635 to 5-HT1A receptor in rat brain, assessed using in vivo microdialysis and PET after fenfluramine. Synapse 41: 150-159.

Hirani, E., J. Gillies, A. Karasawa, J. Shimada, H. Kase, J. Opacka-Juffry, S. Osman, S.K. Luthra, S.P. Hume and D. J. Brooks (2001) Evaluation of [4-O-methyl-11C]KW-6002 as a potential PET ligand for mapping central adenosine A2A receptors in rats. Synapse 42: 164-176.

Hirani, E., J. Opacka-Juffry, R. Gunn, I. Khan, T. Sharp and S.P. Hume (2000) Pindolol occupancy of 5-HT1A receptors measured in vivo using small animal positron tomography with carbon-11 labelled WAY 100635 Synapse, 36: 330-341.

Taheri, S., M. Mahmoodi, J. Opacka-Juffry, M.A. Ghatei, S.R. Bloom (1999), Distribution and quantification of immunoreactive orexin A in rat tissues, FEBS Lett., 457: 157-61.

Opacka-Juffry J., E. Hirani, G.R. Dawson, S.K. Luthra and S.P. Hume (1999) Evaluation of [methyl-3H]L655,708 and [ethyl-3H]RY80 as putative PET ligands for central GABAA receptors containing alfa-5 subunit, Nucl. Med. Biol., 26: 743-748.

Sullivan, A.M., J. Opacka-Juffry, J. Pohl and S.B. Blunt (1999) Neuroprotective effects of growth/differentiation factor 5 depend on the site of administration, Brain Res., 818: 176-179.

Opacka-Juffry, J., A.W. Wilson and S.B. Blunt (1998) Effects of pergolide treatment on in vivo hydroxyl radical production during 6-hydroxydopamine infusion in rat striatum, Brain Res., 810: 27-33.

Opacka-Juffry, J., S. Ashworth, R.G. Ahier and S.P. Hume (1998) Modulatory effects of L-DOPA on D2 dopamine receptors in rat striatum, measured using in vivo microdialysis and PET, J. Neural Transm., 105: 349-364.

Sullivan, A.M., J.Opacka-Juffry and S.B. Blunt (1998) Long-term protection of the rat nigrostriatal dopaminergic system by glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor against 6-hydroxydopaminbe in vivo, Eur. J. Neurosci., 10: 57-63.

Fricker, R.A., E.M. Torres, S.P. Hume, R. Myers, J. Opacka-Juffry, S. Ashworth and S.B. Dunnett (1997) The effects of donor stage on the survival and function of embryonic striatal grafts: II. Correlation between positron emission tomography and reaching behaviour. Neuroscience 79, 711-721.

Sullivan, A.M., J. Opacka-Juffry, G. Hotten, J. Pohl and S.B. Blunt (1997) Growth/differentiation factor5 protects nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurones in rat model of Parkinson's disease. Neurosci. Letters 233, 73-76.

Opacka-Juffry, J. S. Ashworth, A.M. Sullivan, R.B. Banati and S.B. Blunt (1996) Lack of permanent nigrostriatal dopamine deficit following 6-hydroxydopamine injection into rat striatum. J. Neural Transm. 103, 1429-1434.

Opacka-Juffry, J. S. Ashworth, S.P. Hume, D.J. Brooks and S.B. Blunt (1995) GDNF protects against 6-OHDA nigrostriatal lesion. Neuroreport 7, 348-352.

Torres, E.M., R.A. Fricker, S.P. Hume, R. Myers, J. Opacka-Juffry, S. Ashworth, D.J. Brooks and S.B. Dunnett (1995) Assessment of striatal graft viability in the rat in vivo using a small diameter PET scanner. Neuroreport 6: 2017-2021.

Hume, S.P., J. Opacka-Juffry, R. Myers, R.G. Ahier, S. Ashworth, D.J. Brooks and A.A. Lammertsma (1995) Effects of L-DOPA and 6-OHDA lesioning on [11C]raclopride binding in rat striatum, quantified using PET. Synapse 21, 45-53.

Opacka-Juffry J., and D.J. Brooks (1995) L-DOPA and its decarboxylase - new ideas on their neuroregulatory roles - a review. Movement Disorders 10, 241-249.

Pike, V.W., J.A. McCarron, S.P. Hume, S. Ashworth, J. Opacka-Juffry, S. Osman, A.A. Lammertsma, K.G. Poole, A . Fletcher, A.C. White and I.A. Cliffe (1994) Preclinical development of a radioligand for studies of central 5-HT1A receptors in vivo-[11C]WAY-100635, Med. Chem. Res. 5, 208-227 (Study awarded a Marie Curie Prize in Nuclear Medicine, 1995).

Hume, S.P. ,S. Ashworth, J. Opacka-Juffry, R.G. Ahier, S, A.A. Lammertsma, V.W. Pike, I.A. Cliffe, A.Fletcher and A.C. White (1994) Evaluation of [O-methyl-3H]WAY-100635 as an in vivo radioligand for 5-HT1A receptors in rat brain, Eur. J. Pharmacol. 271, 515-523.


Shende V.H, Pryce C.R., D. Rüedi-Bettschen D, Rae T.C. and Opacka–Juffry J. (2012) Evidence for long-term remodelling of hippocampal volume and astroglia following early life stress in Wistar rats. Recent Devel. Brain Res., 1; 99-117.ISBN: 978-81-308-0505-4

Opacka-Juffry J. and S.P. Hume (2006) Modulatory effects of levodopa on D2 dopamine receptors in rat striatum assessed using in vivo microdialysis and PET. Pages 261-275 in 'Neurobiology of DOPA as a Neurotransmitter' Editors Misu Y. and Goshima Y.; Progress in Pharmacology and Toxicology, Series Ed, Mannfred A. Hollinger, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis.

Opacka-Juffry, J. (2002) Aromatic Amino Acid Decarboxylase. In: Wiley Encyclopedia of Molecular Medicine, 255-257. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Opacka-Juffry J, H. Morris, S. Ashworth, S. Osman, E. Hirani, A.M. MacLeod, S.K. Luthra and S.P. Hume (1998) Preliminary evaluation of the glycine site antagonists [11C]L703,717 and [3H]MDL 105,519 as putative PET ligands for central NMDA receptors-in vivo studies in rats, in Carson, R.E., M.Daube-Witherspoon and P. Herscovitch, Quantitative Functional Brain Imaging with Positron Emission Tomography, San Diego, USA: Academic Press 299-303.


Examples of work with master students*

Romain G* and Opacka-Juffry J (2014) Cerebral ageing - the role of insulin and insulin-like growth factor signalling: A review. World Journal of Neurology 4, 12-22 – invited contribution

Idiculla J*, Shirazi N., Opacka-Juffry J and Ganapathi (2004) Diabetic amyotrophy: a brief review. Natl. Med. J. India, 17: 200-202




J. Opacka-Juffry (2014) Antidepressants again (Editorial) Annals of Depression and Anxiety 1(2); 1007


Public events recently organised at Roehampton

Brain Awareness Week (BAW) 2016 - March 2016

BAW  Public Lecture: Tuesday 15th March, 17.00 - 18.00 

Topic: 'Immune system, brain and depression: from evolution to future treatment'

Speaker: Professor Christopher Pryce, University of Zurich, Switzerland and Honorary Professor of Behavioural Neurobiology at the University of Roehampton, London

BAW Special Lunch Time Lecture: Friday 18th March, 13.00- 14.00. Topic:‘Computational studies on ‘Legal Highs’ and their effect on the brain dopamine system’

Speaker: Dr Michelle Sahai, University of Roehampton

Health Sciences Research Day 2015 - June 30th, 2015  

External sponsors: Waters Ltd, Sarstedt Ltd, Scientific Laboratory Supplies Ltd and Kelloggs

Brain Awareness Week 2015 - March 2015

Brain Awareness WeekPublic Lecture 1
Thursday 12th March,17.00 - 18.00, Whitelands: G036:
Pleasure, novel psychoactives and the brain's basement: what is known and what the EU-Madness Project will hopefully clarify
Speaker: Professor Gaetano DiChiara; University of Cagliari, Italy

Brain Awareness Week Public Lecture 2
Tuesday 17th March,13.00- 14.00, Whitelands: G036:
“What we can learn from invertebrate brains?”
Speaker: Dr Colin Davidson; St George's University of London

For more information on these events please contact Professor Jolanta Opacka-Juffry

Brain Awareness Week 2014 - Focus on 'legal highs' - activities supported by an outreach grant from FENS

April 2013, Festival of Neuroscience,London:
Our research on benzofury was presented at the press conference.

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A new study in the Department of Life Sciences has discovered that great hammerhead sharks swim whilst rolled onto their side, a technique that is more efficient than traditional upright swimming.

Roehampton academic provides new insight into evolutionary biology of toads

Dr Simon Loader, from the Department of Life Sciences, and his team, compiled the largest ever genetic data set of toad species to investigate the theory of Ecological Opportunity in Africa.

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