Dr. Norsyifa Harun

Dr Norsyifa Harun

BSc (Hons) (Adelaide), PhD (USM)

Contact Information:
E-mail: norsyifaharun@usm.my
Telephone: +604-653 5255
Fax: +604-656 8669
Address: Centre for Drug Research, Universiti Sains Malaysia,
11800 Penang
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My research interests are focused in the field of behavioural pharmacology. The studies utilize different animal models to study the effects of drugs on behaviour and also to determine mechanisms of actions of drugs. One of my primary research interest is the behavioural pharmacology of psychoactive compound mitragynine and its 7-hydroxymitragynine derivative to understand kratom abuse and addiction. One of the most important animal model known as drug discrimination is developed to assess the effects of drugs that parallel the subjective effects experienced in humans. Other animal model that is also developed at CDR includes intravenous drug self-administration. This model is used to assess the reinforcing effects of drugs and thus provides valuable information about human drug-taking behaviour.

Current Research Project:

  • Evaluation of withdrawal effects of mitragynine on scheduled-controlled behaviour and drug discrimination procedure in rats
  • The assessment of mitragynine and its 7-hydroxymitragynine derivative to serve as positive reinforcers in rats
  • Oral self-administration of kratom juice in rats to provide clear face-validity to kratom consumption in humans



  1. Harun, N., Hassan, Z., Navaratnam, V., Mansor, S.M., Shoaib, M. (2015) Discriminative stimulus properties of mitragynine (Kratom) in rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl), 232 (13), 2227-2238.
  2. Robertson, S.A., Harun, N., Moldenhaur, L.M. (2011) Repeated seminal fluid exposure expands regulatory T cell populations in mice. Biology of Reproduction, 85: 74

 Published Abstract

  1. Harun, N., Hassan, Z., Navaratnam, V., Mansor, S.M., Shoaib, M. (2014) Discriminative stimulus properties of mitragynine, an alkaloid derived from leaves Mitragyna speciosa (Kratom). Journal of Psychopharmacology, 28 (8), A88.
  2. Shoaib, M. &Harun, N. (2012). Impact of sub-chronic ketamine exposure on the reinforcing effects of nicotine in rats: implications for self-medication in schizophrenia. Society of Neuroscience (SFN).
  3. Moldenhauer, L.M, Guerin, L.R, Harun, N., Hayball J.D., Robertson, S.A. (2011). Role of T cell-mediated immune responses in healthy and complicated pregnancy. Frontiers in Reproductive Biotechnology.