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Dr Samantha McLean

Associate Professor

Faculty/Dept/School School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences
(Faculty of Life Sciences)
Telephone +441274 235809


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


Peer Reviewed Journal
TitleThe Chemerin-CMKLR1 Axis is Functionally important for Central Regulation of Energy Homeostasis (2022)
AuthorsYun, H: Dumbell, R: Hanna, K: Bowen, J; McLean, SL; Kantamneni, S; Pors, K; Wu, QF; Helfer, G
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
TitleWhat Are the Barriers and Enablers to the Implementation of Pharmacogenetic Testing in Mental Health Care Settings? (2021)
AuthorsJameson A, Fylan B, Bristow GC, Sagoo GS, Dalton C, Cardno A, Sohal J, McLean SL
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
TitleThe effect of photoperiod and high fat diet on the cognitive response in photoperiod-sensitive F344 rats. (2021)
AuthorsMcLean SL;Yun H;Tedder A;Helfer G;
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Title(3S)-3-(2,3-difluorophenyl)-3-methoxypyrrolidine (IRL752) - a novel cortical-preferring catecholamine transmission- and cognition-promoting agent. (2020)
AuthorsHjorth S; Waters S; Waters N; Tedroff J; Svensson P; Fagerberg A; Edling M; Svanberg B; Ljung E; Gunnergren J; McLean SL; Grayson B; Idris NF; Neill JC; Sonesson C
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
TitleStabilized low-n amyloid-ß oligomers induce robust novel object recognition deficits associated with inflammatory, synaptic, and GABAergic dysfunction in the rat (2018)
AuthorsWatremez, W.; Jackson, J.; Almari, B.; McLean, Samantha L.; Grayson, B.; Neilla, J.C.; Fischer, N.; Allouche, A.; Koziel, V.; Pillot, T.; Harte, M.K.
TitleDopamine dysregulation in the prefrontal cortex relates to cognitive deficits in the sub-chronic PCP-model for schizophrenia: a preliminary investigation (2017)
AuthorsMcLean, Samantha L.; Harte, Michael K.; Neill, Joanna C.; Young, A.M.J.
TitleNicotinic α7 and α4β2 agonists enhance the formation and retrieval of recognition memory: potential mechanisms for cognitive performance enhancement in neurological and psychiatric disorders (2016)
AuthorsMcLean, Samantha L.; Grayson, Ben; Marsh, S.; Zarroug, S.H.O.; Harte, Michael K.; Neill, Joanna C.
TitleUsing haloperidol as an anti-emetic in palliative care: informing practice through evidence from cancer treatment and post-operative contexts (2013)
AuthorsMcLean, Samantha L.; Blenkinsopp, Alison; Bennett, M.I.
TitlePNU-120596, a positive allosteric modulator of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, reverses a sub-chronic phencyclidineinduced cognitive deficit in the attentional set-shifting task in female rats (2012)
AuthorsMcLean, Samantha L.; Idris, Nagi F.; Grayson, Ben; Gendle, D.F.; Mackie, C.; Lesage, A.S.; Pemberton, D.J.; Neill, Joanna C.
TitleActivation of α7 nicotinic receptors improves phencyclidine-induced deficits in cognitive tasks in rats: Implications for therapy of cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia (2011)
AuthorsMcLean, Samantha L.; Grayson, Ben; Idris, Nagi F.; Lesage, A.S.; Pemberton, D.J.; Mackie, C.; Neill, Joanna C.
TitlePhencyclidine (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 (2011)
AuthorsSnigdha, S.; Neill, Joanna C.; McLean, Samantha L.; Shemar, G.K.; Cruise, L.; Shahid, M.; Henry, B.
TitleEffects of asenapine, olanzapine, and risperidone on psychotomimetic-induced reversal-learning deficits in the rat (2010)
AuthorsMcLean, Samantha L.; Neill, Joanna C.; Idris, Nagi F.; Marston, H.M.; Wong, E.H.F.; Shahid, M.
TitleAnimal models of cognitive dysfunction and negative symptoms of schizophrenia: focus on NMDA receptor antagonism (2010)
AuthorsNeill, Joanna C.; Barnes, Samuel; Cook, Samantha; Grayson, Ben; Idris, Nagi F.; McLean, Samantha L.; Snigdha, S.; Rajagopal, Lakshmi; Harte, Michael K.
TitleEffects of subchronic phencyclidine on behaviour of female rats on the elevated plus maze and open field (2010)
AuthorsMcLean, Samantha L.; Woolley, M.L.; Neill, Joanna C.
TitleIsolation rearing impairs novel object recognition and attentional set shifting performance in female rats (2010)
AuthorsMcLean, Samantha L.; Grayson, Ben; Harris, M.; Protheroe, C.; Bate, S.; Woolley, M.L.; Neill, Joanna C.
TitleRole of 5-HT receptor mechanisms in sub-chronic PCP-induced reversal learning deficits in the rat (2009)
AuthorsMcLean, Samantha L.; Woolley, M.L.; Thomas, D.; Neill, Joanna C.
TitleD1-like receptor activation improves PCP-induced cognitive deficits in animal models: Implications for mechanisms of improved cognitive function in schizophrenia (2009)
AuthorsMcLean, Samantha L.; Idris, Nagi F.; Woolley, M.L.; Neill, Joanna C.
TitleA preliminary investigation into the effects of antipsychotics on sub-chronic phencyclidine-induced deficits in attentional set-shifting in female rats (2008)
AuthorsMcLean, Samantha L.; Beck, J.P.; Woolley, M.L.; Neill, Joanna C.