profile image for Dr. Alison Bratt

Dr. Alison Bratt

Lecturer in Pharmacology and BSc (Hons) Physiology and Pharmacology

Medway School of Pharmacy


Dr. Alison Bratt joined Medway School of Pharmacy in 2006 as a neuropharmacologist. She previously held a number of academic and industrial research positions in the UK and overseas including a scientist positions at Syntex Pharmaceuticals, Scotland, Centaur Pharmaceuticals, California and Organon Laboratories, Scotland, where she managed a team working toward pre-clinical drug discovery of novel anti-depressant and anti-psychotic drugs. (2002-2005). Alison also taught pharmacology within the M.Pharm degree course at The University of Brighton (2000-2002). Dr. Bratt has a broad interest in mental health and drug use in psychiatry

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Dr. Bratt former research interests have focussed on understanding the nature of neurobiological processes underlying motivation, learning, affect and drug abuse from a preclinical perspective. Her currently interested in studying the range of behavioural difficulties experienced by children with neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), along with possible interventions to improve functioning.

Alison's research aims toward greater understanding of the behavioural problems experienced by children diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and Fragile X syndrome (FXS). Autism is a highly complex neurological condition affecting approximately 2.3% of all children, which exists on a spectrum of severity and symptom mix. The high degree of heterogeneity of the condition is incompletely understood and subtypes are poorly delineated at present. Research into the breadth and specificity of impairments in a range of different behavioural domains amongst children with ASD and ADHD may gain insight into how best to support them.

Specific Interests

  • Use of stimulant medication to treat “ADHD-like symptoms” in autistic children
  • Sleep difficulties and their treatment in children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Public perceptions / understanding of autism
  • Investigating possible biomarkers of stress responding in children with Autism & Fragile X Syndrome
  • Supporting Independence in young adults with autism
  • Consideration of specific social / public health support which autistic people themselves, & parents / carers require for their children / young people with autism.

PhD Students & Research

rebecca hardiman

Rebecca Hardiman (

Rebecca is registered for her PhD at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent & works jointly with Dr. Bratt at Medway School of Pharmacy. Rebecca Obtained a first class BSc. Degree in Psychology from the University of Birmingham (2012).  She has practical experience in working with children with special needs, working at the Cerebra Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders (University of Birmingham), as well as in special education schools as an applied behaviour analyst. Rebecca is a Director of the Fragile X Society.

Rebecca’s PhD project investigates the relationship between challenging behaviour and hyperarousal in children with Fragile X Syndrome.  This project is jointly supervised by Peter McGill (co-Director of the Tizard Centre, University of Kent) &  Dr. Alison Bratt (Lecturer in Neuropharmacology, Medway School of Pharmacy).  A pilot project is about to commence, (NHS Rec.  13/LO/0244); aiming  to correlate episodes of challenging behaviour (measured by functional behavioural analysis), and levels of salivary cortisol in boys with Fragile X, and their unaffected siblings. This allows a study of gene x environment effects on limbic hypothalamic adrenal (l-HPA) axis function in possible behavioural phenotypes within Fragile X

Becky successfully defended her thesis and was awarded her PhD in June 2018 and will graduate in November 2018. Well done!

Sofia Chantziara (

Sofia has a wealth of experience in psychology, gaining a BSc (Hons) Psychology (Aristotle Uni., 2007), an MsC in Counselling Psychology (Keele Uni 2010), and a Masters in research M.Res (Portsmouth Uni., 2014).   Sofia is registered for her PhD within Medway School of Pharmacy and works with the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Research Team, headed by Dr Alison Bratt (primary supervisor). Her supervisory team also include Professor Peter McGill (Tizard Center) and Professor Janet Krska (Medway School of Pharmacy).
Sofia’s PhD project is entitled “Passport to Life: Investigation of life skills support needs to support independence in young people with autism”. Sofia has conducted qualitative interviews with young people with autism and their parents & carers. She has also facilitated focus groups with special education needs teachers to derive data on how best to support effective life skills in young people with high functioning autism.
Sofia commenced her PhD in April 2015 and will submit her thesis in October 2018.

Previous public engagement with research

PER event: Supporting Independence in Young People with Autism” held April 2018.

This 1 day event brought together 60 members of the public (parents of young people with autism), along with some professionals from organizations supporting families with autism, and teachers from 3 local mainstream and specialist schools with provision for pupils with autism. A discussion was held of the best ways to support youngsters in acquiring life skills to facilitate successful transition to  an independent (or semi-independent) life. This event was kindly funded by a grant from the Public Engagement with research Fund of the University of Kent.

Presentation slides from the event:

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    Full list of publications

    • Bratt AM. (2013) Maternal antidepressant use and autistic spectrum disorder: Fetal reprogramming or pre-conception epigenetic phenomenon, conferring what real-world magnitude of risk? British Medical Journal Rapid Response Online Letter to the Editor.
    • Hodge CW, Bratt AM, Kelley SP. (2008). Deletion of the 5HT (3A)-receptor subunit blunts the induction of cocaine sensitization. Genes Brain Behav. 7(1): 96-102.
    • Hodge CW, Kelley SP, Bratt AM, Iller K, Schroeder JP, Besheer J. (2004). 5HT(3A) receptor subunit is required for 5HT3 antagonist induced reductions in alcohol drinking.  Neuropsychopharmacology 10: 1807-1813
    • Bratt AM.  (2003) A large group hybrid lecture and problem-based learning approach to teach central nervous system pharmacology within the third year of an integrated masters level pharmacy degree course.  Pharmacy Education 3(1): 35-52.
    • Sosabowski, MH.,  Bratt, AM,  Herson, K,  Olivier, GWJ, Sawers, R,  Taylor, S,  Zahoui, AM,  Denyer, SP. (2003). Enhancing Quality in the M.Pharm Degree Programme: Optimisation of the Personal Tutor System. Pharmacy Education. Volume 3, pp. 103-108
    • Kelley SP, Bratt AM, Hodge CW. (2003) Targeted gene deletion of the 5-HT3A receptor subunit produces an anxiolytic phenotype in mice. Eur J Pharmacol. 461(1):19-25.
    • Hodge CW, Cox AA, Bratt AM, Camarini R, Iller K, Kelley SP, Mehmert KK, Nannini MA, Olive MF. (2001) The discriminative stimulus properties of self-administered ethanol are mediated by GABA(A) and NMDA receptors in rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 154(1):13-22.
    • Kelley SP, Nannini MA, Bratt AM, Hodge CW. (2001) Neuropeptide-Y in the paraventricular nucleus increases ethanol self-administration. Kelley SP, Nannini MA, Bratt AM, Hodge CW. Peptides. 22(3):515-22.
    • Bratt AM, Kelley SP, Knowles JP, Barrett J, Davis K, Davis M, Mittleman G. (2001) Long term modulation of the HPA axis by the hippocampus: behavioural, biochemical and immunological endpoints in rats exposed to chronic mild stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2001; 26(2):121-45.


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Last Updated 10/06/2019