By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies.     Allow cookies

Undergraduate courses

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. 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 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 health and life sciences laboratories comprising a substantial investment of HEFCE funds at Roehampton. She has co-supervised seven PhD projects and over 70 MSc dissertations in the area of clinical neuroscience. She is committed to and recognised for her contribution to public engagement in research. 

She is member of Editorial Boards: Open Journal of Depression; Annals of Depression and Anxiety 



Research interests

Neurobiological mechanisms of brain disorders
Neuroplasticity and glial plasticity; Brain remodelling in response to environmental effects
Neurobiological effects of novel psychoactive drugs

Research projects undertaken

Studies on neurobiological correlates of early life stress and social defeat stress - with Dr Christopher Pryce of Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland
Studies on neurobiological mechanisms of depression - with GE Healthcare (PhD sponsor)
Studies on stress and resilience - with Professor Jorg Huber, Northampton University
Studies on early life stress and depression - with Professor Changiz Mohiyeddini, Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton
Effects of benzofury and other novel psychoactive drugs on the brain - with Dr Colin Davidson, St George's, University of London

Research Collaborations:
St George's, University of London, Division of Biomedical Science - Dr Colin Davidson;
Imperial College London, Division of Experimental Medicine - Professor Glenda Gillies;
Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland - Dr Christopher R. Pryce

Membership of professional bodies

British Neuroscience Association (BNA);
Society for Neuroscience, USA (SfN);
Forum of the European Neuroscience Societies (FENS);
International Brain Research Organization (IBRO)

Consultancies undertaken

Member of the panel of experts in the British round of the European public consultation on brain science, the 'Meeting of Minds' (October 2005);
Member of the EU panel of experts as above (November 2006);

Member of the Neuroscience Network UK (coordinated by the Manchester and Bradford Universities)

Teaching interests

Clinical Neuroscience

MSc/PGDip in Clinical Neuroscience (Programme Coordinator and personal tutor)

Postgraduate modules (Module convener and co-tutor):
Principles of Clinical Neuroscience
The Brain from a Clinical Perpective
Brain, Diet and Addiction
Biomedical Practical on Brain Function





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 (in Press)

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

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]

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.


Recent conferences attended


NeuroTalk2014 - BIT Congress, Nanjing, China - invited speaker

Organised at Roehampton - 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:

more stories »

Department news

Are research results accurate? New work reveals why previous scientific principles are crumbling

The reliability and reproducibility of science are under scrutiny. Famous scientific findings from the past cannot be confirmed when the original studies are eventually re-examined, however new work by Dr Lewis Halsey and colleagues will help scientists understand why this happens.

Roehampton researcher confirms recent discovery of new springtail species in the UK

Dr Peter Shaw identified the first UK record of the luridly coloured springtail 'Bilobella braunerae' from specimens newly collected by Natural England staff. This was only described in 1981 from France, appeared in the Netherlands in 2007, and has now been found on a farm in Shropshire. We do not know how it gets around, and will use DNA barcoding to establish whether the UK and Netherlands animals are the same population.

Follow us on twittertwitter

Facebook icon   Twitter icon   Instagram icon   Google+ icon   LinkedIn icon
© Roehampton University