Institute of Neuroscience

Staff Profile

Dr Sarah Judge

Staff Scientist



Staff scientist in neurotoxicology and neuropharmacology

Principal Investigator on NIHR-funded Health Protection Research Unit projects

Additional organisational responsibilities

Module leader / Lecturer / undergraduate and postgraduate assessor / seminar leader

PhD / MRes supervisor

Postgraduate progression panel member

Pharmacology Curriculum Committee member

Module moderation board member

Personal Tutor

Member of the Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Board (2012-2016)

Person designated for the Human Tissue Act (Wolfson Building)

External activities

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

Member of the British Toxicology Society Scientific Sub-Committee

Ambassador for the British Toxicology Society


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

Aurora Leadership Development Programme alumna (2018)

Previous Positions

Wellcome Trust funded Research Associate, School of Neurology, Neurobiology and Psychiatry, University of Newcastle(2002-2005)

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 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 begin with clinical observations or epidemiological evidence that chemical exposure is associated with an adverse health effect.  We then investigate 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.

We have recently expanded our work to investigate which pesticides people use in their homes to inform future studies on pesticide exposure and neurodevelopment in children.

Nerve agent exposure

We are currently optimising 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 are investigating the effects of recreational drugs on brain function using neurotransmitter uptake and electrophysiological techniques.

Public engagement

We’re always keen to discuss our work with the public.  One example is our recent 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

BMS3013: Diseases of the human nervous system

CSIM2-91: Neuropharmacology

PED1002: Pharmacology

PED3008: Advanced Topics in Neuropharmacology


PED3012: Integrated Pharmacology


CMB3000: BSc Biosciences Research Project

MRes assessor

Teaching administration

Member of the Pharmacology Curriculum Committee

Member of the Module Moderation Board

Personal tutor