Dr Francesca Panin

Senior Lecturer

Faculty:Faculty of Science and Engineering

School:Life Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Research Supervision:Yes

Francesca Panin is a pharmacist with a PhD in neuroscience and research experience in pre-clinical and clinical neuropharmacology. Her areas of expertise include pharmacology, neuroscience, sleep, drug addiction, cognitive neuroscience and regulatory/ethics skills for pre-clinical and clinical research. At ARU, Francesca supervises doctorate and research programmes.


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Francesca is a pharmacist registered with the local GPhC and a neuropharmacologist.

After graduating in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology (MPharm equivalent), she obtained a PhD in neuroscience in Italy with a thesis on the neuropharmacology of antidepressants. Subsequently, she worked on the neuropharmacology of drug addiction as postdoctoral researcher at the centre for health and medical research INSERM in Bordeaux (France). After successful qualification to work as Clinical Research Associate, she led a study on metabolic and sleep disturbances in people with Huntington’s Disease, at the Cambridge University Hospital.

She then became a Lecturer at ARU in 2015, and Senior Lecturer in 2016. She has won two VC PhD studentships while at ARU. Her current research interests are on sleep and the pharmacotherapy of alcohol use disorder, and on cognitive training in ageing.

Research interests

Francesca areas of expertise are in Neuroscience, Pharmacology, Drug Addiction, Cognitive Neuroscience, Sleep, Electrophysiology. She is more specifically interested in:

  • The neural mechanisms underlying the switch from depression to mania in bipolar patients
  • The neural mechanisms underlying the development of drug addiction
  • The development of new therapies to treat cardiac failures: pharmacology and medical devices
  • The use of polysomnography to diagnose and treat sleep disturbances
  • The use of EEG to study the neural mechanisms regulating the gait activity

Areas of research supervision

  • Supervision of a professional doctorate student in Health and Social Care, with a project on the role of healthcare professionals' behaviours in the quality of patients' sleep
  • Supervision of Pharmacy postgraduate students (neural mechanisms of depression)
  • Second supervisor for 1 PhD student on the neural mechanisms of drug addiction


  • Pharmaceutical chemistry and technology (postgraduate degree), Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sassari (Italy)
  • Pharmacist qualification, Pharmacy, Ministry of Health, Sassari (Italy)
  • PhD Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sassari (Italy)
  • Certificate of aptitude to work as Clinical Research Assistant, ISVM Bordeaux (France)
  • Good Clinical Practice certificate, online training, Epigeum
  • Motor Rater certificate to diagnose motor impairments in Huntington’s Disease, EuroHD (online training)
  • IELTS certificate (7.5 overall score), Anglia Ruskin University
  • JBI training in systematic review

Memberships, editorial boards

  • General Pharmaceutical Council, UK
  • ARU Society for Healthcare Science
  • Positive Ageing Research Group (PARI)

Selected recent publications

Panin, F., Peana, A. T., 2019. Sleep and the pharmacotherapy of alcohol use disorder: unfortunate bedfellows. A systematic review with meta-analysis. Frontiers in Pharmacology 17(10), p. 1164. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.01164

Collins, L. M., Begeti, F., Panin, F., Lazar, A. S., Cruickshank, T., Ziman, M., Mason, S. L., Barker, R. A., 2015. Novel Nut and Bolt Task Quantifies Motor Deficits in Premanifest and Manifest Huntington's Disease. PLoS Current, 7. PMCID: PMC4570842.

Panin F.*, Lazar A. S.*, Goodman A. O., Lazic S. E., Lazar Z. I., Mason S. L., Rogers L., Murgatroyd P. R., Watson L. P., Singh P., Borowsky B., Shneerson J. M., Barker R. A., 2015. Sleep deficits but no metabolic deficits in premanifest Huntington's disease. Annals of Neurology, 78(4), pp. 630-48. 
*=equal contribution

Panin, F., Lintas, A., Diana, M., 2014. Nicotine-induced increase of dopaminergic mesoaccumbal neuron activity is prevented by acute restraint stress. In vivo electrophysiology in rats. Eur Neuropsychopharmacology, 24, pp. 1175-1180.

Vallée, M., Vitiello, S., Bellocchio, L., Hébert-Chatelain, E., Monlezun, S., Martin-Garcia, E., Kasanetz, F., Baillie, G. L., Panin, F., Cathala, A., Roullot-Lacarrière, V., Fabre, S., Hurst, D. P., Lynch, D. L., Shore, D. M., Deroche-Gamonet, V., Spampinato, U., Revest, J. M., Maldonado, R., Reggio, P. H., Ross, R. A., Marsicano, G., Piazza, P. V., 2014. Pregnenolone can protect the brain from cannabis intoxication. Science, 343, pp. 94-98.

Panin, F., Cathala, A., Piazza, P. V., Spampinato, U., 2012. Coupled intracerebral microdialysis and electrophysiology for the assessment of dopamine neuron function in vivo. Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods, 65, pp. 83-92.