Professor Barnes’ primary research interest concerns the neurotransmitter and local hormone, 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT; serotonin). Research performed by the Barnes Laboratory includes cellular and molecular approaches investigating various 5-HT receptors and the transporter, SERT, to proof of concept clinical investigations assessing the potential therapeutic utility of manipulating the 5-HT system in patients. In addition, the Barnes Group are performing pre-clinical and clinical investigations concerning the purinergic P2X7 receptor as a potential target to reduce the consequences of neurotrauma and improve patient outcomes. A further interest of the Barnes Group is to better understand the anti-scarring actions of the human protein decorin and to design decorin-mimetics with therapeutic potential.
A recent innovation from the Barnes Laboratory is the successful generation of human microglia differentiated from peripheral blood monocytes from healthy donors and patients with disease (view example results). This innovation allows modelling of microglia in the brain from a readily available source of cells and the impact of disease on the function of these cells (e.g. schizophrenia, neurotrauma and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease).
Academic Citizenship – Key positions
Responsible for the nomenclature of 5-HT receptors arising from different genes (currently 18 genes plus some ‘orphan’ 5-HT receptors) and the variants arising from post-translational modifications (e.g. alternative splicing and RNA editing). Guidelines also provide advice how to; pharmacologically identify responses mediated via individual 5-HT receptors (which agonists/antagonists and relevant concentrations); identify expression (mRNA and/or protein) of 5-HT receptor genes (PCR and qPCR primer sequences, which antibodies)
- Fellow, British Pharmacological Society (BPS)
- Translational Neuropharmacologist, NIHR SRMRC, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham
- Member: Finance Committee, BPS
- Councillor, International Society for Serotonin Research
- Journal Editorships: 3
- Honorary Professor: University of Melbourne (Australia)
- Honorary Professor: University of Siena (Italy)
- External Examiner
- Undergraduate and post-graduate pharmacology programmes (UK and abroad)
- PhD theses (UK and abroad)
- Expert Neuropharmacologist for various TV and media networks
- Invited external lectures (since 2009): 43