Centre for Drug Research USM

Academic Staff

Dr. Norsyifa Harun

Dr Norsyifa 1

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 psychopharmacology/behavioural pharmacology. The studies extensively involve drug discovery and development from pre- clinical modelling and pharmacological perspectives. My research utilizes a variety of animal models to examine how various drugs affect behaviour and to identify the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic or adverse effects of a range of drug classes. The research goal is to maximise the therapeutic potential of pharmacological drug classes that are associated with liabilities which incorporating the abuse and dependence potential assessments. A number of significant models such as drug self- administration, drug discrimination, conditioned place preference and etc. are being developed to assess the effects of drugs that parallel the subjective effects experienced in humans. In addition, some of the laboratory models may also be used to evaluate newly developed alternative pharmacotherapeutics for neuropsychiatric disorder symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and anhedonia. Using a variety of these models, I am looking forward to explore more on the pharmacology of various pharmacological classes of drugs.

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.

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Centre for Drug Research,
Universiti Sains Malaysia,
11800 USM, Penang, Malaysia.
Tel : +604-658 3444/ +604-653 3888 Ext. 3272  |   Faks : +604-656 8669
E-mail :  dir_cdr@usm.my