Health Protection Research Unit for Chemical & Radiation Threats & Hazards

Staff Profile

Dr Sarah Judge

Lecturer in Pharmacology


Lecturer in Pharmacology

External activities

Deputy chair of the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment

Member of the British Toxicology Society Scientific Sub-Committee

Abstract co-editor for the British Toxicology Society Annual Congress

Ambassador for the British Toxicology Society

Invited lecturer at University of Birmingham


Ph.D. Neuroscience
B.Sc. Hons. Zoology

Aurora Leadership Development Programme alumna (2018)

Previous Positions

Staff Scientist in the Medical Toxicology Centre, Newcastle University (2006-2019)

Wellcome Trust funded Research Associate, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University (2002-2006)

NIH funded Research Associate, Department of Psychology, Boston University, USA (2000-2002)

Honours and Awards

Fellowship award from the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology in 2005.

Organon Prize for the best paper in Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2005.


British Pharmacological Society

British Toxicology Society

International Neurotoxicology Association


My main interests focus on understanding how chemicals interact with the brain and contribute to the development of neurodevelopmental, neurological and psychiatric disorders. 

My research questions began with clinical observations or epidemiological evidence that chemical exposure is associated with an adverse health effect.  We then investigated how that chemical can affect the brain leading to that particular health effect, providing a mechanistic link. 

Low level pesticide exposure

There is epidemiological evidence that low level exposure to pesticides can lead to symptoms associated with psychiatric disorders.  We investigated the effects of low levels of organophosphate pesticides on brain function using behavioural, neurochemical and electrophysiological technique to determine a mechanistic link.

Nerve agent exposure

We optimised an assay to assess for nerve agent exposure. 

Recreational drugs

Clinical observations indicate that the newer “legal highs” have mechanisms of action in addition to those that are known.  We investigated the effects of recreational drugs on brain function using neurotransmitter uptake and electrophysiological techniques.

Public engagement

An example is a partnership with a team of senior school pupils through the leading edge engagement programme.  The pupils told me they were interested in examining the effects of chemicals found in soft drinks they consume. Under my supervision they developed and conducted their own experiment to test the ingredients.  They found that some of the chemicals can affect motor activity.  Their data and the partnership experience were published in a peer-reviewed scientific paper with the pupils as authors!


Module leader

PED3008: Advanced Topics in Neuropharmacology

Lecturer/ assessor / seminar leader / practical leader

PED1002: Pharmacology

PED2006: Systems Pharmacology

PED3008: Advanced Topics in Neuropharmacology


PED3012: Integrated Pharmacology

BMS3013: Diseases of the human nervous system

BMS3016: Science communication

CMB1006: Practical skills in biomedical and biomolecular sciences

CMB2000: Essential biomedical research skills

CRV8004: Clinical assessment and investigation

MMB8032: Toxicology

Teaching administration

Chair of Board of Examiners, Stage 1

Deputy chair of the Pharmacology Curriculum Committee

Student Voice co-ordinator for School of Biomedical, Nutritional and Sport Sciences

Lead for Professional learning in Student Representation Award (School of BNS)

Member of the Module Moderation Boards / Boards of Examiners / Board of Studies

Personal tutor