Home > Research > Research Themes > Neuro-Psychopharmacology


Research Objectives

The pharmacology of drugs that may exert neural, psychological and behavioural changes in animals and human. The key areas are as follows:


  • Diet, environmental toxins, and neurodegenerative disease
  • Neuronal stem cells
  • Neuronal lipidomics
  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Evidence-based prescription in East Asia


Programme Highlights

The various research activities are ongoing. Collaborative research studies with East Asian countries continue to yield good clinical data.


  • Studies of the roles of 5-HT receptor subtypes in the effects of antidepressant drugs on adult neurogenesis and stem cell proliferation.
  • Studies of antidepressant drugs on lipidomics and glutamate receptor expression in mice.
  • Studies of noradrenergic modulation of hippocampo-prefrontal cortical long-term potentiation
  • Studies of the role of the nucleus incertus in antipsychotic-induced weight gain
  • Completed Psychotropic Drug Prescription study from 10 regions in Asian countries in June 2013.



Research Achievements


      Oct 2007: International Psychogeriatric Association Award for Research in Ageing and Cognitive


    Research Grants

      1. Co-investigator: Identification of New Biomarkers for Mild Cognitive Impairment Funded by NMRC: $495,375 (2008)
      2. Co-PI: Gerontology Research Programme: Biological, Clinical, Psychosocial and Behavioural Predictors of Health Status in Prospectively. Followed-up Cohorts of Elderly Persons, Funded by BMRC (A*Star): $2,245,524 (2008)
      3. Co-PI: Longitudinal Assessment of Biomarkers for characterisation of early Sarcopenia and predicting frailty and functional decline in community-dwelling Asian older adults Study (GERI-LABS) S$ 2,000,000 (2013)



      Bestsellers under World Scientific Publicating Company (Medicine and Healthcare):

      "A Guide to Medicinal Plants"; Authored by Koh HL, Chua TK and Tan CH



    Selected Publications


    1. Ho NF, Han SP, Dawe GS. Effect of voluntary running on adult hippocampal neurogenesis in cholinergic lesioned mice. BMC Neurosci. 2009 10:57.
    2. Lee LY, Farooqui AA, Dawe GS, Burgunder JM, Ong WY. Role of phospholipase A(2) in prepulse inhibition of the auditory startle reflex in rats. Neurosci Lett. 2009 Mar 27;453(1):6-8.
    3. Verma V, Tan CH, Ong WY, Grigoryan GA, Jones CA, Stolzberg D, Salvi R, Gross KW, Ratty AK, Dawe GS. The chakragati mouse shows deficits in prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle and latent inhibition. Neurosci Res. 2008 Mar;60(3):281-8.
    4. Lim EP, Verma V, Nagarajah R, Dawe GS Propranolol blocks chronic risperidone treatment-induced enhancement of spatial working memory performance of rats in a delayed matching-to-place water maze task. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2007 Apr;191(2):297-310.
    5. Verma V, Rasmussen K, Dawe GS. Effects of short-term and chronic olanzapine treatment on immediate early gene protein and tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity in the rat locus coeruleus and medial prefrontal cortex. Neuroscience. 2006 Dec 1;143(2):573-85.
    6. Tsang S.W.Y., M.M. Esiri, P.T. Francis, P.T.-H. Wong, C.P.L.-H. Chen and M. K.P. Lai (2008) Loss of [3H]4-DAMP binding to muscarinic receptors in the orbitofrontal cortex of Alzheimer’s disease patients with psychosis. Psychopharmacology (Berl), 198: 251-259. [Epub ahead of print Mar 30, 2008].
    7. Tsang S. W.Y., H. V. Vinters, J. L. Cummings, P. T.-H. Wong, C. P.L.-H. Chen and M. K.P. Lai (2008) Alterations of NMDA Receptor Subunit Densities and Ligand Binding to Glycine Recognition Sites are Associated with Chronic Anxiety in Alzheimer’s Disease. Neurobiol. Aging 29: 1524-1532. [Epub ahead of print Apr 10, 2007].
    8. Sherrin T., C. Todorovic, T. Zeyda, C.H. Tan, P.T.-H. Wong, Y.-Z. Zhu and J. Spiess (2008) Chronic stimulation of corticotrophin-releasing factor receptor 1 enhances the anxiogenic response of the cholecystokinin system. Mol. Psychiat. 14: 291-307. [Epub ahead of print Jan 15, 2008].
    9. McLachlan CS, Farook JM, Daugé V, Wong PT. (2009) The CCK(2) agonist BC-264 decreases predatory fear freezing at high but not low dosages in PVG hooded rats during initial exposure to a cat. Peptides. 30:808-9. [Epub 2008 Dec 25].
    10. Ng TP, Feng L, Kua EH , et al . Tea consumption and cognitive impairment in older Chinese adults.  American J Clinical Nutrition 2008, 88, 224-231.
    11. CHONG*, MS, L K GOH, WS LIM, M CHAN, L TAY, G CHEN, L FENG, T P Ng, C H Tan and T S LEE, "Gene Expression Profiling of Peripheral Blood Leukocytes Shows Consistent Longitudinal Downregulation of TOMM40 and Upregulation of KIR2DL5A, PLOD1, and SLC2A8 Among Fast Progressors in Early Alzheimer's Disease". Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 34, no. 2 (2013): 399-405. (Netherlands).
    12. XIANG, Y T, R W BUCHANAN, G S UNGVARI, H F CHIU, K Y LAI, Y H LI, T M SI, C Y WANG, E H LEE, Y L HE, S Y YANG, M Y CHONG, E H Kua, S FUJII, K SIM, M K YONG, J K TRIVEDI, E K CHUNG, P UDOMRATN, K Y CHEE, N SARTORIUS, C H Tan and N SHINFUKU, "Use of Clozapine in Older Asian Patients with Schizophrenia between 2001 and 2009.". PLoS ONE, 8, no. 6 (2013): e66154. (United States).
    13. XIANG*, T Y, F DICKERSON, J KREYENBUHL, G S UNGVARI, C Y WANG, T M SI, E H LEE, Y L HE, H F CHIU, S Y YANG, M Y CHONG, C H Tan, E H Kua, S FUJII, K SIM, M K YONG, J K TRIVEDI, E K CHUNG, P UDOMRATN, K Y CHEE, N SARTORIUS and N SHINFUKU, "Common use of antipsychotic polypharmacy in older Asian patients with schizophrenia (2001-2009).". JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY, 32, no. 6 (2012): 809-813. (United States).
    14. ITO*, H, Y OKUMURA, T HIGUCHI, C H Tan and N SHINFUKU, "International Variation in Antipsychotic Prescribing for Schizophrenia: Pooled Results from the Research on East Asia Psychotropic Prescription (REAP) Studies". Open Journal of Psychiatry, 2, no. 4A (2012): 340-346. (United States). (
    15. JIMMY*, L C K, L K GOH, G CHEN, S Verma, C H Tan and T S LEE, "Analysis of blood-based gene expression signature in first-episode psychosis". Psychiatry Research, (2012). (Netherlands). (PMID: 22503327 (Epub)).
    16. CHING, J, C H Tan, W L SOH, J LEE, J Y C TAN, J YANG, C W YAP and H L Koh*, "Identification of active compounds from medicinal plant extracts using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and multivariate data analysis.". Journal of Separation Science, 35, no. 1 (2012): 53-59. (Germany).
    17. LEE, H W L, C H Tan, Yew Long Lo, Akhlaq A. Farooqui, G Shui, M R Wenk and W Y Ong*, "Brain lipid changes after repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation: potential links to therapeutic effects?". Metabolomics, 8, no. 1 (2012): 19-33. (United States). (updated: 26 July 2011).
    18. Lee, Lynette Hui-Wen, C H Tan, G Shui, M R Wenk and W Y Ong*, "Role of prefrontal cortical calcium independent phospholipase A2 in antidepressant-like effect of maprotiline.". INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF NEUROPSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY, 15, no. 8 (2011):1087-1098. (United Kingdom). (PMID: 21835087; Updated: 16 Jan 2012).


Member(s) of Programme

Programme Coordinator:

Assoc Prof Tan Chay Hoon


A/Prof Peter Wong Tsun-Hon
A/Prof Lee How Sung
Prof Kua Ee Heok
Prof Calvin Fones Soon Leng
Dr Zhu Yi-Zhun
A/Prof Gavin Dawe
A/Prof Ong Wei Yi


Contact Details


Associate Professor Tan Chay Hoon

Department of Pharmacology
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
National University of Singapore
Clinical Research Center, MD11,
Level 5, #05-09, 10 Medical Drive,
Singapore 117597
Tel     : 6516 3264
Fax    : 6873 7690
Email :