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Helen Collins


DPhil Student


I completed my BA in Cells and Systems Biology at Oxford in 2018, majoring in Cardiovascular, Renal and Respiratory Physiology and minoring in Neuroscience. In am currently in my fourth year of the Wellcome Trust 1+3 DPhil in Neuroscience, working in the Sharp group, having completed rotation projects in this lab and in Emptage group.


I am in the third year of my DPhil, studying the behavioural and neurophysiological effects of SSRI discontinuation. Recent publications suggest that up to half of patients discontinuing an SSRI antidepressant will experience withdrawal symptoms, for example nausea, dizziness, anxiety and sleep disturbances. Despite much clinical and anecdotal evidence of SSRI discontinuation syndrome, there are vanishingly few preclinical studies of the condition.

I am currently working on optimising a mouse model of SSRI discontinuation, as well as identifying key behavioural tests that can be used to establish its presence. I am also using molecular techniques to investigate the underlying neurobiological changes occurring following discontinuation that may contribute to the symptoms.


Effect of SSRI discontinuation on anxiety-like behaviours in mice.

Helen M Collins, Raquel Pinacho, Dersu Ozdemir, David M Bannerman, Trevor Sharp. Accepted in Journal of Psychopharmacology. bioRxiv 2021.05.29.446266;  doi:

P.0554 Effect of paroxetine discontinuation on 5-HT neurochemistry in mice ex vivo and in vivo

Helen M Collins, Dersu Ozdemir, Yulia Sudarikova, Elizabeth Daly, Raquel Pinacho, David M Bannerman, Trevor Sharp. Part of Special Issue: 34th ECNP Congress – Lisbon 2021 Hydbrid. European Neuropsychopharmacology. 2021; 53, Suppl. 1: S407-S408.

The effect of discontinuation from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors on anxiety in mice.

Helen M Collins, Raquel Pinacho, David M Bannerman, Trevor Sharp. Selected Abstracts From Pharmacology 2020. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2021;178(2):381-486.

P.240 Investigation of the behavioural effects of paroxetine discontinuation in mice.

Helen M Collins, Raquel Pinacho, Dersu Ozdemir, David M Bannerman, Trevor Sharp. Part of Special Issue: 33rd ECNP Congress – Vienna 2020. European Neuropsychopharmacology. 2020; 40, Suppl. 1: S136-S137.