Amal Alachkar

Associate Adjunct Professor, Pharmacology
School of Medicine

Ph.D., University of Manchester, UK, 2004, Neuroscince

D.Pharm., Aleppo University, Syria, 1996, Pharmacy

Phone: (949) 824-2522

University of California, Irvine
388B Med Surge II
Mail Code: 4625
Irvine, CA 92697

picture of Amal  Alachkar

Neurotransmitter systems, neural circuits, molecular pharmacology, neuropsychopharmacology, Psychiatric Disorders
2011-2012 Hubert Humphrey Award, Department of State, USA,
2012-2014 Institute of International Education SRF Award, USA
2016 Outstanding Scholar Award, Institute of International Education, USA
The research of Dr. Alachkar focuses on understanding the neurobiology of neurological and psychiatric disorders and identifying therapeutic target for optimal treatment.

Her first research direction focuses on the associations between genetic and environmental factors and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. Aversive conditions during pregnancy such as famine, nutritional deficits, and stress significantly disrupt fetal development and program the susceptibility to neuropsychiatric disorders. Dr. Alachkar is investigating potential therapies by using an epigenetic model of schizophrenia that involves disrupting on-carbon metabolisms during gestation. As part of this direction, Dr. Alachkar is also studying schizophrenia pharmacogenetics, particularly the association between schizophrenia and methylation enzymes’ genes.

Her second research direction is to define the role of the neuropeptide melanin concentrating hormone (MCH) in cognition and social behaviors. In particular, Dr. Alachkar is investigating the role of MCH system in behaviors related to maternal behavior and postpartum resilience/depression.
Publications 1. Alachkar, A.*, Wang, L., Lee, S., Wang, Z., Xu X., Abbott, G., Civelli, O., 2017, “Prenatal one-carbon metabolism dysregulation programs schizophrenia-like deficits” in Press, Molecular Psychiatry. *corresponding author

2. Alachkar, A.*, Alhassen, L., Wang, Z., Wang, L., Onouye, K., Sanathara, N., Civelli, O., 2016, Inactivation of the MCH system impairs maternal behavior, European Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology * 26(11): 1826-1835.corresponding author

3. Wang L, L., Y. Zhang, Z. Wang, N. Gong, T. D. Kweon, B. Vo, C. Wang, X. Zhang, J. Y. Chung, Alachkar A., X. Liang, D. Z. Luo and O. Civelli ., 2016, The Antinociceptive Properties of the Corydalis yanhusuo Extract." PLoS One 11(9): e0162875.

4. Wang L*, Alachkar A*, Sanathara N, Belluzzi JD, Wang Z, Civelli O, 2015, “A Methionine-induced Animal Model of Schizophrenia: Face and predictive validity.” International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 19;18(12), *those author contributed equally to the work.

5. Alachkar, A., Jiang, D. Harrison, M. Zhou, Y. Chen, G. Mao, Y., 2013. "An EJC factor RBM8a regulates anxiety behaviors." Curr Mol Med 13(6): 887-899.

6. Lajin B, Alachkar A., Michati R, Sakur A., 2013, Association between Polymorphisms in Genes for Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 and its Regulator NAD(P)H:Quinone Oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) and Schizophrenia in a Syrian Study Cohort, Arch Med Res 44(2): 121-126.

7. Lajin, B., Alhaj Sakur, A., Michati, R., Alachkar, A., 2012 Association between MTHFR C677T and A1298C, and MTRRA66G polymorphisms and susceptibility to schizophrenia in a Syrian study cohort, Asian Journal of Psychiatry. 5(2):144-9

8. Lajin, B. and Alachkar, A., 2013, "The NQO1 polymorphism C609T (Pro187Ser) and cancer susceptibility: a comprehensive meta-analysis." Br J Cancer 109(5): 1325-1337.

9. Alachkar, A., J. Brotchie, O. T. Jones, 2012, Changes in the mRNA levels of alpha2A and alpha2C Adrenergic Receptors in Rat Models of Parkinson’s Disease and L-DOPA-induced Dyskinesia, J Mol Neurosci. 46(1):145-52

10. Mustafa, O. H., A. R. Hamzeh, Ghabreau, L. Akil, N. Almoustafa, A. E. Alachkar, A., 2013. "Allele Frequencies of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptors Polymorphism R521K in Colorectal Cancer Patients and Healthy Subjects Indicate a Risk-Reducing Effect of K521 in Syrian Population." N Am J Med Sci 5(3): 202-206

11. Lajin, B.; Alhaj Sakur, A.; Alachkar, A., 2013, Association between polymorphisms in apoptotic genes and susceptibility for developing breast cancer in Syrian women, Breast Cancer Res Treat, 138: 2, 611-9

12. Lajin, B., Alhaj Sakur, A., Ghabreau, L., Alachkar A., 2012, Association of polymorphisms in one-carbon metabolizing genes with breast cancer risk in Syrian women. Tumour Biol, 33(4):1133-9

13. Lajin*, B., Alachkar*, A., Hamzeh, AR., Michati, L., Alhaj, H., 2011. No association between Val158Met of the COMT gene and susceptibility to schizophrenia in the Syrian population. North Am J Med Sci, 3: 176-178.* those author contributed equally to the work.

14. Alachkar, A., J. M. Brotchie, O.T. Jones. 2010 "Locomotor response to L-DOPA in reserpine-treated rats following central inhibition of aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase: further evidence for non-dopaminergic actions of L-DOPA and its metabolites." Neurosci Res 68(1): 44-50.

15. Lajin, B., Sakur, A.A., Hamzeh, A.R., Alachkar, A., 2010. Genotype distribution of the single nucleotide polymorphism Val158Met of the COMT gene in the Syrian population. J. Biol. Sci., 10: 701-704

16. Alachkar, A., J. M. Brotchie, O.T. Jones .2010 "Binding of dopamine and 3-methoxytyramine as l-DOPA metabolites to human alpha (2)-adrenergic and dopaminergic receptors." Neurosci Res 67(3): 245-9.

17. Alachkar, A., J. Brotchie, O. T. Jones (2006). "Alpha2-Adrenoceptor-mediated modulation of the release of GABA and noradrenaline in the rat substantia nigra pars reticulata." Neurosci Lett 395(2): 138-42.
• Society for Neuroscience • Middle Eastern Association for Cancer Research • Syria Association of Pharmacists • Syria Society of Teachers • Neuroscience Society
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Last updated 08/16/2017