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Addiction Behaviour and Neuroplasticity Laboratory

Zurina Hassan, Ph.D.

Current Appointment(s)

Visiting Scientist, National Neuroscience Institute
University Lecturer, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Principal Research Scientist, Universiti Sains Malaysia
World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Advisory Panel on Drug Dependence (Dependence Liability Evaluation)

Contact Information

Addiction Behaviour and Neuroplasticity Research Laboratory
Centre for Drug Research
Universiti Sains Malaysia
11800 Penang
Tel: (+604) 6532726 (Office)
Fax: (+604) 6568669

The Team

Research Officer

  • Siti Najmi Syuhadaa Bakar


  • Dr Fazlina Mustafa, Ph.D (Graduated 2015)
  • Nurul Hasnida Mohammad Yusof (Ph.D. scholar)
  • Farah Wahida Suhaimi (Ph.D. scholar)
  • Norsyifa Harun (Ph.D. scholar)
  • Thenmoly K Damodaran (Ph.D. scholar)
  • Nurul Aqmar Mohamad Nor Hazalin (Ph.D. scholar)
  • Rahimah Hassan (Ph.D. scholar)
  • Md Shamsuddin Sultan Khan (Ph.D. scholar)
  • Nor Fasihah Azam (MSc scholar)

Overview of Laboratory

The Behavioural Neuroscience Laboratory was founded in October 2010 in the Centre for Drug Research (CDR), Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia. We were given the mandate to establish a new Behavioural Neuroscience Laboratory in this centre. We are the pioneer in this institution and embarked on a new niche area of research focusing on Behaviour Research in Addiction. We emphasize on behaviour neuroscience and strive to be a reference center for those who are planning to participate in behaviour neuroscience in their research. Our concern is to understand the neural mechanisms of motivation, learning and memory especially in drug addiction and neurodegenerative disease. We have developed the Electrophysiology Laboratory focusing on brain activity (EEG) and in vivo synaptic plasticity. A technique known as in vivo microdialysis is developed in CDR to measure the dynamic changes on extracellular levels of neurotransmitters in the specific brain sites. Using this method, information on the correlations between the behavioural effects and neurochemical events could be possibly addressed. Examination on the involvement of systemic opioid, GABA, noradrenergic, dopaminergic and serotonergic system on these addictive behaviours enable comprehensive understanding of how brain mechanisms regulate these complex behaviours.

Selected Publications

  1. Hassan Z, Yam MF, Ahmad M, Yusof APM. (2010). Antidiabetic properties and mechanism of action of Gynura procumbens water extract in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat. Molecules, 15, 9008-9023 (Impact factor: 2.39)
  2. Hassan Z, Dewa A, Asmawi MZ, Sattar, MZA. (2011). Assessment of vascular reactivity at different time-course on STZ-induced diabetic rats. Journal of Experimental and Integrative Medicine, 1(3), 175-183 (Indexed in ScopeMed).
  3. Suhaimi F, Hassan Z, Navaratnam V and Müller CP (2012). Impairment of memory formation, consolidation and retrieval of inhibitory avoidance task in acute mitragynine-treated rats. Front. Hum. Neurosci.  Conference Abstract: ACNS-2012 Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Conference. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2012.208.00176 (Impact factor: 2.34)
  4. Hassan Z, Sofian ZM and Navaratnam V (2012). Changes in the spontaneous EEG and locomotor activity of freely moving rats in mitragynine-treated animals. Front. Hum. Neurosci.  Conference Abstract: ACNS-2012 Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Conference. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2012.208.00042 (Impact factor: 2.34)
  5. Mohammad Yusoff N, Hassan Z, Navaratnam V and Müller CP (2012). Effects of acute mitragynine exposure on the establishment of conditioned place preference and locomotor activity. Front. Hum. Neurosci. Conference Abstract: ACNS-2012 Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Conference. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2012.208.00118 (Impact factor: 2.34)
  6. Hassan Z, Muzaimi M, Navaratnam V, Yusoff NHM, Suhaimi FW, Vadivelu R, Vicknasingam BK, Amato D, von H¨orsten S, Ismail NIW, Jayabalan N, Hazim AI, Mansor SM, M¨uller CP (2013). From kratom to mitragynine and its derivatives: physiological and behavioral effects related to use, abuse, and addiction. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 37 (2), 138-151. (Impact factor: 9.440)
  7. Razali N, Dewa A, Asmawi MZ, Ismail Z, Mansor NM, Hassan Z (2013). Vascular reactivity on aortic rings of spontaneously hypertensive rats treated with methanolic and water extracts of Ficus deltoidea. Journal of Experimental and Integrative Medicine, 3(2), 93-10. (Indexed in ScopeMed)
  8. Hassan Z, Sattar MZA, Suhaimi FW, Yusoff NHM, Abdulla MH, Yusof APM, Johns EJ (2013). Blunted endogenous GABA-mediated inhibition in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus of rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. Acta Neurologica Belgica, 113, 319-325 (Impact factor: 0.54)
  9. Manshor NM, Dewa A, Asmawi MZ, Ismail Z, Razali N, Hassan Z (2013). Vascular reactivity concerning Orthosiphon stamineus Benth-mediated antihypertensive in aortic rings of spontaneous hypertensive rats. International Journal of Vascular Medicine,
  10. Hasnida N, Yusoff M, Hassan Z, Visweswaran N, Muller CP (2013). Simultaneous monitoring of conditioned place preference and locomotor sensitization in mitragynine-treated rats. Behavioural Pharmacology, 24(e-Supplement Abstract of the 15th Biennial Meeting of the European behavioural Pharmacology Society, La Rochelle, September 6-9,2013) e58, October 2013 (Impact factor: 2.301).
  11. Fazlina Mustaffa, Zurina Hassan, Nur Adlin Yusof, Khairul Niza Abdul Razak, Mohd Zaini Asmawi (2014). Antidiabetic Mechanism of Standardized Extract, Fraction and Subfraction of Cinnamomum Iners Leaves. Int. J. Pharm. Sci. Rev. Res., 26(2), 209-214 (Impact factor: 2.191)
  12. Fazlina Mustaffa, Zurina Hassan, Nur Adlin Yusof, Khairul Niza Abdul Razak, Mohd Zaini Asmawi (2014). Antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic potential of standardized extract, fraction and subfraction of Cinnamomum Iners Leaves. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 6(5), 220-225 (Impact factor: 1.59)
  13. Aminu Umar Kura, Pike-See Cheah, Mohd Zobir Hussein, Zurina Hassan, Tengku Ibrahim Tengku Azmi, Nor Fuzina Hussein, Sharida Fakurazi (2014). Toxicity evaluation of zinc aluminium levodopa nanocomposite via oral route in repeated dose study. Nanoscale Research Letters, 9 (261), 1-11 (Impact factor: 2.524)
  14. Nurul HM Yusoff, Farah W Suhaimi, Raja K Vadivelu, Zurina Hassan, Anne Rümler, Andrea Rotter, Davide Amato, Hans C Dringenberg, Sharif M Mansor, Visweswaran Navaratnam, Christian P Müller (2014). Abuse potential and adverse cognitive effects of mitragynine (Kratom). Addiction Biology, doi:10.1111/adb.12185, 1-13 (Impact factor: 5.929)
  15. Thenmoly Damodaran, Zurina Hassan, Visweswaran Navaratnam, Mustapha Muzaimi, Christian P Müller, Hans C Dringenberg (2014). Time course of motor and cognitive functions after chronic cerebral ischemia in rats. Behaviour Brain Research 275, 252-258 (Impact factor: 3.391)
  16. Mustaffa F, Hassan Z, Yusof NA, Razak KNA, Asmawi MZ (2014). Bioassay-guided antidiabetic mechanisms of Cinnamomum iners leaves extract. World Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 3 (6), 1924-1935 (SJIF Impact factor: 5.045)
  17. Harun N, Hassan Z, Navaratnam V, Mansor SM, Shoaib M (2014). Discriminative stimulus properties of mitragynine, an alkaloid derived from leaves Mitragyna speciosa (Kratom). Journal of Psychopharmacology 28(8). A88 (Impact factor: 3.374)
  18. Nor Fasihah Azam, Zurina Hassan, Hans C. Dringenberg (2014). The effect of permanent occlusion of common carotid arteries on electroencephalogram (EEG) in rat’s brain. Archives of Pharmacy Practice, 5 (Supplement 1), S9
  19. Norsyifa Harun, Zurina Hassan, Visweswaran Navaratnam, Sharif M. Mansor, Mohammed Shoaib (2015). Discriminative stimulus properties of mitragynine (Kratom) in rats. Psychopharmacology, 232, 2227-2238 (Impact factor: 3.988)