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Dr Alexis Bailey

Reader in Neuropharmacology
Alexis Bailey is head of Pharmacology Section; he has a strong educational and research profile
Molecular & Clinical Sciences Research Institute

Alexis Bailey is a Reader in Neuropharmacology and currently head of Pharmacology Section. He has a strong educational profile focusing on delivery of award-winning inspirational research informed teaching and module leadership. In 2017, he launched and delivered a new Professional Training Year programme for biomedical science students which has significantly contributed to the education mission of St George's University. He is also St. George's University course director for the MPharm course which is run in partnership with Kingston University. Alexis Bailey has also developed an international reputation for his research in neuropharmacology especially in the field of drug addiction and recently electronic cigarettes.

Dr. Bailey joined St. George’s University of London in January 2016 and is currently joint member of the Institute of Medical & Biomedical Education and the Molecular and Clinical Science Research Institute. From 2010-2015, he held a lectureship position at Surrey University and an associate lectureship at the Open University. After having spent 2 years as a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University, New York working in Dr. Mary Jeanne Kreek’s Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases in 2003-2005, he spent 3 years working on an EC funded project working on the genetics of addiction at Surrey University (2005-2008). In 2008, he embarked on his first independent research position as an RCUK Academic Fellow at Surrey University.

Dr. Bailey obtained a First-class Honours Degree in Biochemistry at the University of Surrey in 1999. He then studied for a PhD in Neuropharmacology, under the supervision of Professors Ian Kitchen and Susanna Hourani working on the interactions of the opioid and adenosine systems in the CNS.

In 2016, he was awarded the Student Choice Award for Excellence in Pharmacology Teaching from the British Pharmacological Society on the basis of his outstanding contribution to pharmacology teaching. He also received the Education Excellence Award for Research-Inspired Teaching & Learning in 2020.  His research has also been recognised by the receipt of the Bill Bowman Lectureship Award (2014) and the Aptuit Prize (2010) from the British Pharmacological Society based on outstanding published work in Integrative Pharmacology. He served on the editorial board of the British Journal of Pharmacology from 2013-2019 and is currently an editor for Addiction Biology.

Dr. Bailey was a member of the organization committee of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Scientific Summit on Tobacco Harm Reduction in Athens (2018, 2019, 2020) and of the International Narcotics Research Conference in Bath (2016). He is also on the scientific organising committee for the world leading opioid conference, the International Narcotics Research Conference to take place in Valencia in 2021.

Dr Bailey has built his own research group primarily with PhD students (20 since 2009) working primarily in the field of opioid, cocaine, alcohol and nicotine addiction as well as food security. He has extensive expertise in preclinical models of drug addiction and co-morbid psychiatric disorders and in neurochemistry with over 50 research publications to his name, including articles in Nature Communications, Biological Psychiatry, Molecular Psychiatry, Neuropsychopharmacology and British Journal of Pharmacology. He has also attracted significant research funding (European Commission, Public Health England, Royal Society, BBSRC, FAPESP).

Dr. Bailey and his team made pioneering contribution to public health by increasing knowledge and understanding of the harm reduction impact of electronic cigarettes on smoker’s health. He led a €400K Horizon 2020 EC funded longitudinal study that assessed the impact of switching from smoking to E-cigarette use on psychometric, toxicological, biochemical and clinical parameters as well as brain activity in collaboration with Public Health England, industry (AIICS) and the Aristotle University Medical School, Greece.

He has also made significant contribution to the field of drug addiction with identifying the neuropeptide oxytocin as a promising therapeutic intervention for the targeted treatment of co-existing substance abuse and affective disorders. Considering the lack of effective treatment for this comorbidity, innovative approaches are warranted to identify safe and effective treatment. The work from his lab using preclinical models of addiction demonstrated strong efficacy of an oxytocin analogue in modulating depressive like behaviour and at the same time preventing relapse in opioid dependent mice. This finding has been extended in his lab to other drugs of abuse such as cocaine, nicotine, methamphetamine and alcohol. Clinical studies are underway to translate his preclinical findings for clinical impact.


PhD studentship Public Health England   £ 105,000  (Bailey CoI)                            Toxicological assessment of electronic cigarette flavours and flavour-derived e-liquid constituents


Cancer Research UK Project Grant £107,000(Bailey CoI)                               Maternal exposure to carcinogens, toxicants and nicotine among e-cigarette users, smokers and nicotine replacement therapy users during pregnancy


Horizon 2020, European Commission Research Grant 438,500 euros (Bailey PI)                                                                                                                 Multidisciplinary tools for improving the efficacy of public prevention measures against smoking (SmokeFreeBrain)


PhD studentship Public Health England   £ 103,000 (Bailey CoI)                                                                                                                           Potential toxicity of inhaled nicotine in e-cigarette refills                                                                                           


British Pharmacology Society Integrative Pharmacology Fund £10,000 (Bailey PI)   The role of pre- and post- synaptic GABAB receptors on alcohol drinking behaviour and addiction


BBSRC-University of Surrey Doctoral Training in Food security £80,000 (Bailey PI)                                                                                                                         Impact of prolonged maternal milk exposure on gut microbiota, brain development and behaviour


BBSRC In Vivo Strategic Skills Awards £20,000 (Bailey PI)                                   Impact of prolonged maternal milk exposure on gut microbiota, brain development and behaviour


Royal Society project grant £14,500 (Bailey PI)                                                                                                                          Oxytocin analogues: A novel target for preventing relapse in opioid addiction?


FAPESP (Brazil)-University of Surrey Research Grant £10,000 (Bailey PI)               Effect and neurobiological mechanisms of environmental manipulations on ethanol and nicotine induced behavioural effects: involvement of the stress circuitry


Santander mobilization grant for collaborative project with University Sao Paulo, Brazil (£2500) (Bailey PI)


Santander mobilization grant for collaborative project with University Sao Paulo, Brazil (£3000) (Bailey PI)


MRC/ESRC Interdisciplinary Research Studentship £82,000                                     Effect and neurobiological mechanisms of exercise on nicotine craving


Prof. Rafael Maldonado, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona

Prof. Brigitte Kieffer, Scientific Director, Douglas Research Centre, McGill University, Canada

Prof. Andreas Zimmer, Director of Institute for Molecular Psychiatry, University of Bonn

Prof. Rosana Camarini, Department of Pharmacology, University Sao Paolo, Brazil

Prof. Sue Wonnacott, Department of Biology & Biochemistry, University of Bath

Prof. Milanes, Department of Pharmacology, University of Murcia, Spain

Prof. Laorden, Department of Pharmacology, University of Murcia, Spain

Prof. Stefan Shultz, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Jena University Hospital, Germany

Prof. Mark Cropley, Department of Psychology, Surrey University

Prof. Phil Terry, Department of Psychology, Kingston University

Prof. Michael Ussher, Population Health Institute, St. George’s University of London

Prof. Debbie Baines, Infection and Immunity Institute, St. George’s University of London

Dr. Heidi Lesscher, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Utrecht

Dr Tim Marczylo, Toxicology Department at the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, Pubic Health England

Dr. Leda Kovatsi, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Prof. Jonathan Swann, Southampton University

Dr. Lisa Wells, Head of Discovery CNS Applications at Invicro

Dr. Christopher Bailey, Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology, University of Bath

Dr. Jacques Barik, Institut de Pharmacologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS, France

Dr. Julie LeMerrer, INRA, Tours, France

Dr. Jerome Becker, INRA, Tours, France

Dr. Vincent Bombail, INRA, Paris, France

Dr. Gonzalo Herradón, Universidad CEU San Pablo, Spain

Dr. Yannis Paloyelis, IOPPN, Kings College London

Dr. Daan van der Veen, University of Surrey

Dr. Priti Chivers, Research Fellow, University of Surrey

Dr. Andy Ioannides, Director of Laboratory for Human Brain Dynamics, Cyprus


Dr. MJ Kreek, Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases, Rockefeller University, New York

Prof. Anne Lingford-Hughes, Imperial College, London

Dr. Fiona Robinson, Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Chertsey

Dr. Christos Kouimitsedes, Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Chertsey

Alexis Bailey is currently head of Pharmacology Section within the Center of Biomedical Education and St. George's University course director for the Pharmacy MPharm degree which is run in partnership with Kingston University.  In 2017, he launched the inaugural Professional Training Year (PTY) program for biomedical science students which he is currently leading. The PTY program offers our students the opportunity to spend one year working in industry, the NHS or in cutting edge research laboratories with the aim to prepare graduates well for their future careers.

Dr. Bailey is leader of a final year module, Pharmacology & Physiology of Drugs of Abuse and teaches neuropharmacology to Biomedical Science, Pharmacy, Medical and Clinical Pharmacology students. He supervises PhD, MSci, MRes and undergraduate research projects.

He is also a visiting lecturer at Surrey University, Kingston University and Uppsala University, Sweden and external examiner for the Pharmacy MPharm course at UClan. He has also acted as an external advisor for course approval for pharmacology courses and has examined multiple PhD students (>10) nationally an internationally.

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