MUSE: Models of University and Schools Engagement

Project: Research

Project Details


This project aims to explore how substance misuse affects the brain and how this leads to changes in mood and behaviour. It will synergise with and enhance the Health and Wellbeing curriculum area of the Curriculum for Excellence.
In the first year of this project, a multidisciplinary team of Strathclyde researchers led by Professor Judith Pratt have established a link with a secondary school and its associated feeder school. It is envisaged that this vertically integrated approach will contribute to supporting the transition between primary and secondary school and enable the secondary pupils to become mentors for the primary pupils.
In discussion with teachers the specific drugs for the project have been established based upon their impact on society and legal status; alcohol, tobacco and cannabis. Senior pupils (S3) have been selected based upon the criteria that they would benefit most from being introduced to the value of research as a knowledge building tool.
To date the team of an early career researcher and established researchers have led on an interactive workshop with the primary (P7) and S3 pupils to discuss how drugs affect brain function, mood and behaviour. Pupils have also been introduced to the concept of how drugs may highjack the brain reward system which may lead to addiction. Armed with this information, pupils have been provided with research weblinks by Strathclyde researchers. Pupils will work in teams to further research a particular drug and produce a poster of their findings with guidance from Strathclyde researchers and teachers. Additionally S3 pupil will visit the Strathclyde Fabrication lab to produce models of the brain. Pupils will present their findings to parents and the wider school community at Strathclyde campus events.

Layman's description

Strathclyde researchers are working with primary and secondary school pupils and teachers to explore how the misuse of both legal (alcohol and cigarette smoking) and illegal (cannabis) drugs affect the brain and how this leads to changes in mood and behaviour and to addiction. The project provides a biological basis to drug misuse that synergises and enhances the Health and Wellbeing aspects of the Curriculum for Excellence. Strathclyde researchers are demonstrating the value of research as a knowledge building tool and are providing pupils with the skills to conduct their own research into the topic which the pupils will present both internally and externally as posters and brain models.
Short titleSubstance misuse and the brain.
AcronymDrugs and the Brain
Effective start/end date1/01/1331/12/16


  • EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council): £49,162.00
  • EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council): £147,547.00


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