Dr Lauren Harms

Dr Lauren Harms

Postdoctoral Fellow

School of Psychology (Biological Sciences)

Career Summary

Biography

Dr Lauren Harms is a postdoctoral research fellow with the Laboratory of Neuroimmunology in the School of Psychology. Dr Harms was awarded her PhD in Neuroscience from The University of Queensland in 2012. In her PhD, she trained at Queensland Brain Institute, where her research was focused on how environmental risk factors for neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia impact brain development and adult behaviour.

In her postdoctoral role at the University of Newcastle, she has continued her research into how early-life exposures can contribute to disease risk. In particular, Dr Harms has focused on how exposure to immune activation during gestation can affect brain development and have a long-term impact on the ability of the brain to generate electrical impulses such as mismatch negativity (MMN) and high-frequency brain wave activity. In an integrative project, she is examining how early-life and adolescent factors contribute to the brain's ability to generate electrophysiological signals and how these electrical changes affect cognitive behaviour, such as attention and memory.


Qualifications

  • PhD (Neuroscience), University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science (Neuroscience)(Honours), University of Queensland

Keywords

  • Animal models
  • Behavioural neuroscience
  • Cognition
  • EEG
  • Mismatch negativity
  • Schizophrenia

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
170101 Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology) 30
110999 Neurosciences not elsewhere classified 70

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Postdoctoral Fellow University of Newcastle
School of Psychology
Australia
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (12 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Duchatel RJ, Jobling P, Graham BA, Harms LR, Michie PT, Hodgson DM, Tooney PA, 'Increased white matter neuron density in a rat model of maternal immune activation - Implications for schizophrenia', Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 65 118-126 (2016)

© 2015.Interstitial neurons are located among white matter tracts of the human and rodent brain. Post-mortem studies have identified increased interstitial white matter neuron (I... [more]

© 2015.Interstitial neurons are located among white matter tracts of the human and rodent brain. Post-mortem studies have identified increased interstitial white matter neuron (IWMN) density in the fibre tracts below the cortex in people with schizophrenia. The current study assesses IWMN pathology in a model of maternal immune activation (MIA); a risk factor for schizophrenia. Experimental MIA was produced by an injection of polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (PolyI:C) into pregnant rats on gestational day (GD) 10 or GD19. A separate control group received saline injections. The density of neuronal nuclear antigen (NeuN+) and somatostatin (SST+) IWMNs was determined in the white matter of the corpus callosum in two rostrocaudally adjacent areas in the 12week old offspring of GD10 (n=10) or GD19 polyI:C dams (n=18) compared to controls (n=20). NeuN+ IWMN density trended to be higher in offspring from dams exposed to polyI:C at GD19, but not GD10. A subpopulation of these NeuN+ IWMNs was shown to express SST. PolyI:C treatment of dams induced a significant increase in the density of SST+ IWMNs in the offspring when delivered at both gestational stages with more regionally widespread effects observed at GD19. A positive correlation was observed between NeuN+ and SST+ IWMN density in animals exposed to polyI:C at GD19, but not controls. This is the first study to show that MIA increases IWMN density in adult offspring in a similar manner to that seen in the brain in schizophrenia. This suggests the MIA model will be useful in future studies aimed at probing the relationship between IWMNs and schizophrenia.

DOI 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2015.09.006
Co-authors Paul Tooney, Pat Michie, Brett Graham, Deborah Hodgson
2016 Harms L, 'Mismatch responses and deviance detection in N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor hypofunction and developmental models of schizophrenia', Biological Psychology, 116 75-81 (2016)

© 2015.Reductions in the size of the mismatch negativity (MMN), an event-related potential component elicited in response to unexpected stimuli, are arguably the most robust neur... [more]

© 2015.Reductions in the size of the mismatch negativity (MMN), an event-related potential component elicited in response to unexpected stimuli, are arguably the most robust neurophysiological findings in schizophrenia. Several studies have now demonstrated that 'true' human-like deviance detection mismatch responses (MMRs) can be generated in the rodent brain and therefore that animal models can be used to examine the neurobiology of schizophrenia-like MMR impairments and investigate the efficacy of new treatments in addressing underlying neurobiological mechanisms. Two broad categories of animal models have been examined for schizophrenia-like MMRs: models involving N-methyl- D-aspartate receptor hypofunction, and models involving an insult or exposure during development. While these models have been shown to exhibit reductions in MMRs, it is still unclear whether or not these reductions involve changes to neural adaptation to repetitive stimuli or whether they reflect impairments in the response to unexpected deviations in regular patterns.

DOI 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2015.06.015
Citations Scopus - 4
2016 Michie PT, Malmierca MS, Harms L, Todd J, 'The neurobiology of MMN and implications for schizophrenia.', Biol Psychol, 116 90-97 (2016)
DOI 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.01.011
Citations Scopus - 1
Co-authors Pat Michie, Juanita Todd
2016 Harms L, Michie PT, Näätänen R, 'Criteria for determining whether mismatch responses exist in animal models: Focus on rodents', Biological Psychology, 116 28-35 (2016)

© 2015 Elsevier B.V.The mismatch negativity (MMN) component of the auditory event-related potential, elicited in response to unexpected stimuli in the auditory environment, has g... [more]

© 2015 Elsevier B.V.The mismatch negativity (MMN) component of the auditory event-related potential, elicited in response to unexpected stimuli in the auditory environment, has great value for cognitive neuroscience research. It is changed in several neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. The ability to measure and manipulate MMN-like responses in animal models, particularly rodents, would provide an enormous opportunity to learn more about the neurobiology underlying MMN. However, the MMN in humans is a very specific phenomenon: how do we decide which features we should focus on emulating in an animal model to achieve the highest level of translational validity? Here we discuss some of the key features of MMN in humans and summarise the success with which they have been translated into rodent models. Many studies from several different labs have successfully shown that the rat brain is capable of generating deviance detection responses that satisfy of the criteria for the human MMN.

DOI 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2015.07.006
Citations Scopus - 4
Co-authors Pat Michie
2014 Harms L, Fulham WR, Todd J, Budd TW, Hunter M, Meehan C, et al., 'Mismatch negativity (MMN) in freely-moving rats with several experimental controls', PLoS ONE, 9 (2014) [C1]

© 2014 Harms et al.Mismatch negativity (MMN) is a scalp-recorded electrical potential that occurs in humans in response to an auditory stimulus that defies previously established... [more]

© 2014 Harms et al.Mismatch negativity (MMN) is a scalp-recorded electrical potential that occurs in humans in response to an auditory stimulus that defies previously established patterns of regularity. MMN amplitude is reduced in people with schizophrenia. In this study, we aimed to develop a robust and replicable rat model of MMN, as a platform for a more thorough understanding of the neurobiology underlying MMN. One of the major concerns for animal models of MMN is whether the rodent brain is capable of producing a human-like MMN, which is not a consequence of neural adaptation to repetitive stimuli. We therefore tested several methods that have been used to control for adaptation and differential exogenous responses to stimuli within the oddball paradigm. Epidural electroencephalographic electrodes were surgically implanted over different cortical locations in adult rats. Encephalographic data were recorded using wireless telemetry while the freely-moving rats were presented with auditory oddball stimuli to assess mismatch responses. Three control sequences were utilized: the flip-flop control was used to control for differential responses to the physical characteristics of standards and deviants; the many standards control was used to control for differential adaptation, as was the cascade control. Both adaptation and adaptation-independent deviance detection were observed for high frequency (pitch), but not low frequency deviants. In addition, the many standards control method was found to be the optimal method for observing both adaptation effects and adaptation-independent mismatch responses in rats. Inconclusive results arose from the cascade control design as it is not yet clear whether rats can encode the complex pattern present in the control sequence. These data contribute to a growing body of evidence supporting the hypothesis that rat brain is indeed capable of exhibiting human-like MMN, and that the rat model is a viable platform for the further investigation of the MMN and its associated neurobiology.

DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0110892
Citations Scopus - 14Web of Science - 6
Co-authors Ulrich Schall, Bill Budd, Mick Hunter, Deborah Hodgson, Juanita Todd, Pat Michie
2013 Todd J, Harms L, Schall U, Michie PT, 'Mismatch negativity: Translating the potential', Frontiers in Psychiatry, 4 1-22 (2013) [C1]
DOI 10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00171
Citations Scopus - 29
Co-authors Pat Michie, Ulrich Schall, Juanita Todd
2013 Harms LR, Michie PT, 'Understanding the pathological mechanisms underpinning functional impairments in schizophrenia: Gamma oscillations versus mismatch negativity (MMN) as mediating factors', Clinical Neurophysiology, 124 2075-2076 (2013) [C3]
DOI 10.1016/j.clinph.2013.05.022
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2
Co-authors Pat Michie
2012 Harms LR, Cowin G, Eyles DW, Kurniawan ND, McGrath JJ, Burne THJ, 'Neuroanatomy and psychomimetic-induced locomotion in C57BL/6J and 129/X1SvJ mice exposed to developmental vitamin D deficiency', BEHAVIOURAL BRAIN RESEARCH, 230 125-131 (2012) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.bbr.2012.02.007
Citations Scopus - 11Web of Science - 8
2012 Harms LR, Turner KM, Eyles DW, Young JW, McGrath JJ, Burne THJ, 'Attentional Processing in C57BL/6J Mice Exposed to Developmental Vitamin D Deficiency', PLOS ONE, 7 (2012) [C1]
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0035896
Citations Scopus - 8Web of Science - 5
2012 Formella I, Scott EK, Burne THJ, Harms LR, Liu P-Y, Turner KM, et al., 'Transient Knockdown of Tyrosine Hydroxylase during Development Has Persistent Effects on Behaviour in Adult Zebrafish (Danio rerio)', PLOS ONE, 7 (2012) [C1]
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0042482
Citations Scopus - 5Web of Science - 3
2011 Harms LR, Burne THJ, Eyles DW, McGrath JJ, 'Vitamin D and the brain', BEST PRACTICE & RESEARCH CLINICAL ENDOCRINOLOGY & METABOLISM, 25 657-669 (2011) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.beem.2011.05.009
Citations Scopus - 67Web of Science - 45
2008 Harms LR, Eyles DW, McGrath JJ, Mackay-Sim A, Burne THJ, 'Developmental vitamin D deficiency alters adult behaviour in 129/SvJ and C57BL/6J mice', BEHAVIOURAL BRAIN RESEARCH, 187 343-350 (2008) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.bbr.2007.09.032
Citations Scopus - 62Web of Science - 53
Show 9 more journal articles

Conference (5 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Rahman T, Zavitsanou K, Purves-Tyson T, Harms L, Meehan C, Schall U, et al., 'Maternal immune activation alters molecular indices of the NMDA receptor in the striatum', JOURNAL OF NEUROCHEMISTRY (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Ulrich Schall, Juanita Todd, Deborah Hodgson
2015 Harms L, Zavitsanou K, Meehan C, Wong A, Fullham R, Todd J, et al., 'Examination of mismatch negativity, oscillatory activity and related neurochemistry in a developmental rat model of Schizophrenia', JOURNAL OF NEUROCHEMISTRY (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Pat Michie, Ulrich Schall, Deborah Hodgson, Juanita Todd
2015 Duchatel R, Jobling P, Graham B, Harms L, Michie P, Hodgson D, Tooney P, 'Modelling white matter neuron pathology in schizophrenia using maternal immune activation', JOURNAL OF NEUROCHEMISTRY (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Paul Tooney, Phillip Jobling, Deborah Hodgson, Brett Graham, Pat Michie
2012 Michie PT, Harms LR, Fulham WR, Penttonen M, Todd J, Hunter M, et al., 'Is the rodent brain capable of auditory deviance detection and MMN-like responses?', ACNS2012 - The 3rd Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Conference. Program Book (2012) [E3]
Co-authors Mick Hunter, Pat Michie, Juanita Todd, Deborah Hodgson, Ulrich Schall, Bill Budd
2012 Nakamura T, Harms LR, Fulham WR, Todd J, Schall UA, Michie PT, Hodgson DM, 'Advances in modeling an endophenotype of schizophrenia in rodents: Mismatch responses to frequency deviants', Abstract Book. Biological Psychiatry Australia Scientific Meeting (2012) [E3]
Co-authors Deborah Hodgson, Ulrich Schall, Juanita Todd, Pat Michie
Show 2 more conferences
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 6
Total funding $681,564

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20162 grants / $642,511

Maternal immune activation and adolescent exposure to cannabis in rodents: Do two developmental “hits” lead to schizophrenia-like changes in brain and behaviour?$636,711

Funding body: NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)

Funding body NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)
Project Team Professor Deborah Hodgson, Emeritus Professor Patricia Michie, Professor Cynthia Weickert, Doctor Lauren Harms, Professor Ulli Schall, Associate Professor Juanita Todd
Scheme Project Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2018
GNo G1500405
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON Y

Modelling decision making in rodents $5,800

Funding body: Keats Endowment Research Fund

Funding body Keats Endowment Research Fund
Project Team Doctor Lauren Harms, Professor Scott Brown, Professor Deborah Hodgson, Emeritus Professor Patricia Michie
Scheme Research Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1501540
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y

20151 grants / $22,000

Electrophysiology rig for the study of schizophrenia-related changes in white matter neurons after maternal infection$22,000

Funding body: Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation Ltd

Funding body Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation Ltd
Project Team Associate Professor Paul Tooney, Doctor Phil Jobling, Associate Professor Brett Graham, Professor Deborah Hodgson, Emeritus Professor Patricia Michie, Doctor Lauren Harms
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1400999
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y

20141 grants / $2,000

Faculty PVC Conference Assistance Grant 2014$2,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Science & IT

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Science & IT
Project Team Doctor Lauren Harms
Scheme PVC Conference Assistance Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2014
GNo G1401193
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20132 grants / $15,053

Two Rat nose poke chambers$12,053

Funding body: NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)

Funding body NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)
Project Team Doctor Lauren Harms
Scheme Equipment Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2013
Funding Finish 2014
GNo G1301308
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y

Australia Israel Research Exchange Program$3,000

Funding body: ATSE (Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering)

Funding body ATSE (Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering)
Project Team Doctor Lauren Harms
Scheme Australian Israel Research Exchange
Role Lead
Funding Start 2013
Funding Finish 2013
GNo G1300563
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed0
Current3

Total current UON EFTSL

PhD0.7

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2016 PhD Effects of Prenatal Maternal Immune Activation and Adolescent Cannabis Exposure on Neurophysiology, Cognition and Behaviour
PhD (Psychology - Science), Faculty of Science and Information Technology, The University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor
2012 PhD The Inflammatory Phenotype: Its Potential Role in Fertility
PhD (Psychology - Science), Faculty of Science and Information Technology, The University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor
2012 PhD The Role of Early Versus Late Gestational Maternal Immune Activation in the Aetiology of Schizophrenia: A Focus on Cognitive Symptomology, the NMDA Receptor and Microglial Activation Using a Rodent Model
PhD (Psychology - Science), Faculty of Science and Information Technology, The University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor
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Research Collaborations

The map is a representation of a researchers co-authorship with collaborators across the globe. The map displays the number of publications against a country, where there is at least one co-author based in that country. Data is sourced from the University of Newcastle research publication management system (NURO) and may not fully represent the authors complete body of work.

Country Count of Publications
Australia 15
Finland 2
Denmark 1
Estonia 1
Spain 1
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Dr Lauren Harms

Position

Postdoctoral Fellow
Laboratory of Neuroimmunology
School of Psychology
Faculty of Science and Information Technology

Focus area

Biological Sciences

Contact Details

Email lauren.harms@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 5664

Office

Room W251
Building Behavioural Sciences Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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