Professor Jenni Harvey

Professor (Teaching and Research)

Systems Medicine, School of Medicine

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Jenni Harvey obtained a BSc honours degree in Pharmacology at the University of Edinburgh (1990) before receiving a Ph.D. in 1993 for work on metabotropic glutamate receptors and synaptic transmission under the supervision of Prof Graham Collingridge (University of Birmingham). She then undertook postdoctoral research positions with Dr Mike Lacey (University of Birmingham) and Prof Mike Ashford (University of Aberdeen), before moving to Dundee to set up her own laboratory after being awarded a Wellcome Research Career Development Fellowship (2001). In 2005, she was awarded a Wellcome University Award to continue her studies into the role of leptin in hippocampal synaptic function.

As Associate Dean (Academic Culture and Performance) within the School of Medicine, I have overall responsibility for upholding the Universities’ core values and to help deliver the School’s strategic priorities and vision, particularly in relation to enhancing professional culture and creating an inclusive, respectful school environment for work and study.

I am specifically responsible for providing leadership and direction in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion, staff mentoring and development, probation and promotion, as well as activities aimed at ensuring that all staff are valued and engaged with delivery of the School’s strategic mission.


Jenni Harvey’s research group has a long standing interest in neuronal synaptic mechanisms and in particular the cellular basis for activity-dependent synaptic plasticity in the CNS. Her research is focused on understanding how the molecular processes of synaptic plasticity are influenced by hormonal systems in health and disease. Recent studies by the group have highlighted a potential cognitive enhancing role for leptin as it regulates diverse aspects of synaptic function including glutamate receptor trafficking, neuronal morphology and activity dependent synaptic plasticity. A major focus of her current research is in determining the cellular and molecular processes underlying leptin’s effects in the brain and also how dysfunctions in the leptin system impact on brain function. Her group are utilizing a range of techniques including electrophysiology, digital epifluorescence imaging, transgenic mouse technologies, molecular biology and confocal microscopy to determine the neuronal function of the hormone leptin.

View full research profile and publications


Undergraduate Science Teaching

5th Year MSCi in Pharmacology/Neuroscience

4th year BSc & BMSc Honours in Pharmacology

4th year BSc & BMSc Honours in Neuroscience

Module Course - Synaptic plasticity and cognition

Module Course Leader - Neurodegenerative Disorders

Supervision of 4th year BSc and BMSc Honours Student Projects

3rd year BSc

Quantitative Pharmacology module

Molecular Pharmacology module

Regulatory Physiology and Pharmacology module

Biomembranes module

Undergraduate Medical Student Teaching

1st year Medical Special Study Component (SSC)

1st year tutorials

Supervision of Medical Students in their 4th year laboratory-based assignment

Postgraduate Teaching

I have extensive experience of supervising both MSc and PhD students.

PhD Projects

Principal supervisor

Other supervisor