Personal HistoryBritta Hahn obtained a M.Sc. in Neuroscience and a Ph.D. in Behavioral Pharmacology from Kings College London, UK, followed by a 5-year fellowship at the Neuroimaging Research Branch of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Baltimore. Throughout, her research focused on the cognitive-enhancing effects of nicotine, employing preclinical models and human functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. In 2008, Dr. Hahn began her faculty appointment at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where she is moving her research towards clinical applications.
The effects of nicotine combine desirable and undesirable properties -- it can enhance certain cognitive functions but is also highly addictive. Its cognitive-enhancing properties have therapeutic potential in the context of disease states such as schizophrenia or Alzheimer's disease. My research aims at pinpointing the neuroanatomical mechanisms responsible for the beneficial effects of nicotine on specific attentional functions, and to apply this knowledge to the treatment of cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia. This involves characterizing those cognitive symptoms on a behavioral and neuronal level, and establishing the overlap with behavioral and neuronal effects of nicotine. Narrowing down the desirable neuronal actions of nicotine will ultimately aid the development of more selective and targeted nicotinic compounds for clinical use.
Lab Techniques and EquipmentfMRI, cognitive testing, eye-tracking, ERPs
Stolerman IP, Mirza NR, Hahn B, Shoaib M (2000) Nicotine in an animal model of attention. European Journal of Pharmacology 393: 147-154. PMID: 10771008
Hahn B, Stolerman IP, Shoaib M (2000) Kappa-opioid receptor modulation of nicotine-induced behaviour. Neuropharmacology 39: 2848-2855. PMID: 11044755
Keaney F, Strang J, Gossop M, Marshall EJ, Farrell M, Welch S, Hahn B, Gonzalez A (2001) A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial of lofexidine in alcohol withdrawal: lofexidine is not a useful adjunct to chlordiazepoxide. Alcohol and Alcoholism 36: 426-430. PMID: 11524309
Hahn B, Shoaib M, Stolerman IP (2002) Nicotine-induced enhancement of attention in the five-choice serial reaction time task: the influence of task-demands. Psychopharmacology 162: 129-137. PMID: 12110990
Stolerman IP, Childs E, Hahn B, Morley A (2002) Drug trace discrimination with nicotine and morphine in rats. Behavioural Pharmacology 13: 49-58. PMID: 11990719
Hahn B, Stolerman IP (2002) Nicotine-induced attentional enhancement in rats: effects of chronic exposure to nicotine. Neuropsychopharmacology 27: 712-722. PMID: 12431846
Hahn B, Shoaib M, Stolerman IP (2002) Effects of dopamine receptor antagonists on nicotine-induced attentional enhancement. Behavioural Pharmacology 13: 621-632. PMID: 12478212
Hahn B, Sharples CGV, Wonnacott S, Shoaib M, Stolerman IP (2003) Attentional effects of nicotinic agonists in rats. Neuropharmacology 44: 1054-1067. PMID: 12763099
Hahn B, Shoaib M, Stolerman IP (2003) Involvement of the prefrontal cortex but not the dorsal hippocampus in the attention-enhancing effects of nicotine in rats. Psychopharmacology 168: 271-279
Hahn B, Stolerman IP (2005) Modulation of nicotine-induced attentional enhance¬ment in rats by adrenoceptor antagonists. Psychopharmacology 177: 438-447. PMID: 15252705
Hahn B, Ross TJ, Stein EA (2006) Neuroanatomical dissociation between bottom-up and top-down processes of visuospatial selective attention. Neuroimage 32: 842-853. PMID: 16757180
Hahn B, Ross TJ, Yang Y, Kim I, Huestis MA, Stein EA (2007) Nicotine enhances visuospatial attention by deactivating areas of the resting brain default network. Journal of Neuroscience 27: 3477-3489.
Hahn B, Ross TJ, Stein EA (2007) Cingulate activation increases dynamically with response speed under stimulus unpredictability. Cerebral Cortex 17: 1664-1671. PMID: 17392464
Hahn B, Wolkenberg FA, Ross TJ, Myers CS, Heishman SJ, Stein DJ, Kurup P, Stein EA (2008) Divided versus selective attention: evidence for common processing mechanisms. Brain Research 1215: 137-146. PMID: 18479670
Panlilio L, Mazolla C, Drago F, Medalie J, Hahn B, Justinova Z, Cadet J, Yasar S, Goldberg S (in press) Anandamide induced behavioral disruption in an attention task in rats through a vanilloid-dependent mechanism. Psychopharmacology 203(3): 529-38.
Hahn B, Ross TJ, Wolkenberg FA, Shakleya DM, Huestis MA, Stein EA (2009) Common and selective effects of nicotine during stimulus detection, selective and divided attention: an fMRI study. Cerebral Cortex 19: 1990-2000 PMID: 19073624
Gold JM, Hahn B, Zhang W, Robinson BM, Kappenman ES, Beck VM, Luck SJ (2009) Reduced capacity but spared precision and maintenance of working memory representations in schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry (in press).