Professor Judith Pratt

Emeritus Professor

Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences


Personal statement

Research Professor (2013-), Professor of Systems Neuroscience (2003), PhD (Institute of Psychiatry 1982).  Co-Director of Psychiatric Research Institute of Neuroscience in Glasgow (PsyRING; a collaboration between the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde.  Since 1997, PsyRING has engaged in major collaborations with Pharmaceutical companies to provide translational solutions for drug discovery and development in Psychiatric disease. 

Research Interests are focussed on understanding the molecular and neural systems that underpin behaviour in mental health and disease. We are a multidisciplinary, friendly team with expertise spanning genetics, molecular biology, brain imaging and behaviour.

Schizophrenia: PsyRING has provided new insight into the glutamate hypothesis of schizophrenia.  We have demonstrated that PCP produces schizophrenia-like changes in brain imaging, GABAergic interneurone markers and cognition. Novel therapeutic targets have been identified (e.g. serominic) and validated.   We have determined the functional brain networks subserving PCP-induced disruption of cognition and their restoration by the pro-cognitive drug modafinil.  Current work is focussed on understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of genetic risk factors for schizophrenia. We have identified a novel risk gene for schizophrenia MAP2K7 and shown that it produces schizophrenia-like working memory deficits. In a recent multicentre translational medicine grant with Pfizer we have identified key neural substrates underpinning behavioural deficits in DISC1 mouse models and demonstrated that the thalamic reticular nucleus is a key region affected in the models.

Cannabinoids: We are investigating the mechanisms of interaction between the constituents of cannabis (e.g. THC and cannabidiol) and with THC and other psychoactive drugs.  Recent work is focussed on environment-environment interactions determining the impact of prenatal infection and adolescence THC exposure on brain systems and behaviour in adulthood.

CeNsUS (Centre for Neuroscience at the University of Strathclyde): Through multidisciplinary collaborations within CeNsUS we are 1) applying novel algorithms from network science to understanding brain systems underpinning drug actions in disease and  2) developing medical devices for deep brain stimulation 3) Investigating the role of the reticular thalamic nucleus in the corticothalamic system using optogenetics

Public engagement.  Engaged in activities at the Glasgow Science Festival, Glasgow Science Centre, Schools, Restaurants, British Association for the Advancement of Science 

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16p11.2 deletion mice exhibit compromised fronto-temporal connectivity, GABAergic dysfunction, and enhanced attentional ability
Openshaw Rebecca L, Thomson David M, Bristow Greg C, Mitchell Emma J, Pratt Judith A, Morris Brian J, Dawson Neil
Communications Biology Vol 6 (2023)
Site‐specific inhibition of the thalamic reticular nucleus induces distinct modulations in sleep architecture
Visocky Vladimir, Morris Brian J, Dunlop John, Brandon Nick, Sakata Shuzo, Pratt Judith A
European Journal of Neuroscience, pp. 1-16 (2023)
Improving the validity and translation of preclinical research
Pratt Judith A, Robinson Emma S J, Fernandes Cathy, Heal David, Stanford S Clare
Journal of Psychopharmacology Vol 36, pp. 779-780 (2022)
Glycan degradation promotes macroautophagy
Baudot Alice D, Wang Victoria M-Y, Leach Josh D, O’Prey Jim, Long Jaclyn S, Paulus-Hock Viola, Lilla Sergio, Thomson David M, Greenhorn John, Ghaffar Farah, Nixon Colin, Helfrich Miep H, Strathdee Douglas, Pratt Judith, Marchesi Francesco, Zanivan Sara, Ryan Kevin M
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Vol 119 (2022)
Enzymatic degradation of cortical perineuronal nets reverses GABAergic interneuron maturation
Willis Ashleigh, Pratt Judith A, Morris Brian J
Molecular Neurobiology Vol 59, pp. 2874-2893 (2022)
The schizophrenia risk gene Map2k7 regulates responding in a novel contingency-shifting rodent touchscreen gambling task
Openshaw Rebecca L, Pratt Judith A, Morris Brian J
Disease Models & Mechanisms Vol 15 (2022)

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Professional Activities

Building the evidence base for community pharmacy depression services: a systematic review and multi-stakeholder consensus exercise
REF- Sub-panel 4 (External organisation)
New insight into genetic schizophrenia risk
The importance of the thalamic reticular nucleus in disrupted thalamocortical connectivity in rodent models of schizophrenia risk factors
Translational rodent models of social behaviours and social cognition: challenges, insights and prospects for new treatments
A key role for the TRN in NMDA Receptor and DISC1 Models of Schizophrenia-Related Thalamo-Prefrontal Cortex Dysconnectivity

More professional activities


Building the Evidence Base for Community Pharmacy Depression Services: a Systematic Review and Multi-stakeholder Consensus Exercise (CMHP-PRUK CP Mental Health Services)
Weir, Natalie Mcfadyen (Principal Investigator) Akram, Gazala (Co-investigator) Pratt, Judith (Co-investigator) Watson, Margaret (Co-investigator)
16-Jan-2023 - 15-Jan-2024
IMPC:Cognitive and ethological characterisation of mice lacking melatonin MT2 receptors
Pratt, Judith (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2018
Characterising mice syntenic for human 16p11.2 in relation to schizophrenia and autism
Pratt, Judith (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2016 - 14-Jan-2018
PsyRING project with Servier Phase 1
Pratt, Judith (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2014 - 31-Jan-2019
Interrogating the cortico striatal thalamo cortical CSTC circuitry implications for neuropsychiatric drug discovery
Pratt, Judith (Principal Investigator) Sakata, Shuzo (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2013 - 30-Jan-2017
MUSE: Models of University and Schools Engagement
Bedford, Tim (Principal Investigator) Angus, Michael (Academic) Biggs, James (Academic) Clark, Andrew (Academic) Gibson, Ann-Marie (Academic) Haw, Mark (Academic) Jamieson, Jonathan (Academic) Leckie, Joy Susan (Academic) Marlow, Marion (Academic) McIvor, Arthur (Academic) McMichan, Lauren (Academic) McMichan, Lauren (Academic) Murdoch, Graham (Academic) Newlands, Emma (Academic) Pratt, Judith (Academic) Ross, Kirsty (Academic) Rowe, David (Academic) Santoro, Ninetta (Academic) Suau, Cristian (Academic) Thomson, David (Academic) Marshall, Stephen (Co-investigator) Mulholland, Anthony (Co-investigator) Nash, David (Co-investigator) Wilson, Alastair (Co-investigator)
This project aims to explore how substance misuse affects the brain and how this leads to changes in mood and behaviour. It will synergise with and enhance the Health and Wellbeing curriculum area of the Curriculum for Excellence.
In the first year of this project, a multidisciplinary team of Strathclyde researchers led by Professor Judith Pratt have established a link with a secondary school and its associated feeder school. It is envisaged that this vertically integrated approach will contribute to supporting the transition between primary and secondary school and enable the secondary pupils to become mentors for the primary pupils.
In discussion with teachers the specific drugs for the project have been established based upon their impact on society and legal status; alcohol, tobacco and cannabis. Senior pupils (S3) have been selected based upon the criteria that they would benefit most from being introduced to the value of research as a knowledge building tool.
To date the team of an early career researcher and established researchers have led on an interactive workshop with the primary (P7) and S3 pupils to discuss how drugs affect brain function, mood and behaviour. Pupils have also been introduced to the concept of how drugs may highjack the brain reward system which may lead to addiction. Armed with this information, pupils have been provided with research weblinks by Strathclyde researchers. Pupils will work in teams to further research a particular drug and produce a poster of their findings with guidance from Strathclyde researchers and teachers. Additionally S3 pupil will visit the Strathclyde Fabrication lab to produce models of the brain. Pupils will present their findings to parents and the wider school community at Strathclyde campus events.
01-Jan-2013 - 31-Jan-2016

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Professor Judith Pratt
Emeritus Professor
Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Tel: 548 2856