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  • 1074 Parkstead House, Whitelands

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Personal profile




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 and the University of Central Lancashire.

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 85 MSc dissertations in the area of clinical neuroscience. She is committed to and recognised for her contribution to public engagement in research.

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

Studies on neurobiological correlates of early life stress and social defeat stress - with Professor Christopher Pryce of the University of Zurich, Switzerland
Studies on stress and resilience - with Professor Jorg Huber, Brighton University
Effects of novel psychoactive drugs on the brain - with Professor Colin Davidson, University of Central Lancashire and St George's, University of London

Research Collaborations:
University of Central Lancashire and St George's, University of London - Professor Colin Davidson;
University of Zurich, Switzerland - Professor Christopher R. Pryce

Professional affiliations

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

Society for the Study of Addiction (SSA)

Consultancy work

Experimental brain research, preclinical models of brain disorders, neuroscience teaching

Member of the panel of experts in the European public consultation on brain science, the 'Meeting of Minds' (2005-2006)

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

Knowledge Transfer on Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) for Blenheim Charity.


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


Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1998 2018

75 Downloads (Pure)

Chronic social stress induces peripheral and central immune activation, blunted mesolimbic dopamine function, and reduced reward-directed behaviour in mice

Bergamini, G., Mechtersheimer, J., Azzinnari, D., Sigrist, H., Buerge, M., Dallmann, R., Freije, R., Kouraki, A., Opacka Juffry, J., Seifritz, E., Ferger, B., Suter, T. & Pryce, C. R., 2 Feb 2018, In : Neurobiology of Stress. 8, p. 42-56

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
73 Downloads (Pure)
Open Access

Spicing Up Pharmacology: A Review of Synthetic Cannabinoids From Structure to Adverse Events

Davidson, C., Opacka-Juffry, J., Arevalo-Martin, A., Garcia-Ovejero, D., Molina-Holgado, E. & Molina-Holgado, F., 20 Jun 2017, Cannabinoid Pharmacology. Kendall, D. & Alexander, S. (eds.). Vol. 80. p. 135-168 34 p. (Advances in Pharmacology).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Investigation into the effects of chronic social stress on the regulation of feeding and metabolism in mice

Author: Carneiro Nascimento, S., 15 Apr 2019

Supervisor: Opacka Juffry, J. (Supervisor), Patterson, M. (Supervisor) & Pryce, C. (External person) (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Regulation of MHC II protein expression by lysosomal degradation and vitamin D

Author: Shah, N., 10 Jan 2019

Supervisor: Opacka Juffry, J. (Supervisor) & Busch, R. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Understanding the role of Inflammation in Coronary Heart Disease Patients with and without Depression

Author: Nikkheslat, N., 8 Aug 2014

Supervisor: Opacka Juffry, J. (Supervisor), Pariante, C. (External person) (Supervisor) & Carvelho, L. (External person) (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis