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Britta  Hahn

Britta Hahn Ph.D.

Academic Title: Assistant Professor
Primary Appointment: Psychiatry
Location: MPRC, Catonsville Campus
Phone: (410) 402-6112
Fax: (410) 402-7198

Personal History:

Dr. Hahn obtained an 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 (UMSOM), where she is working on moving her research towards clinical applications.

Research Interests:

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 disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. My research aims at pinpointing the neuroanatomical mechanisms responsible for the beneficial effects of nicotine on attentional functions, and to apply this knowledge to the treatment of the cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia. This involves characterizing these cognitive deficits on a behavioral and neuronal level, and establishing overlap with the behavioral and neuronal effects of nicotine. Narrowing down desirable neuronal mechanisms of nicotine action will ultimately aid the development of more selective and targeted nicotinic compounds for clinical use.

Lab Techniques and Equipment:

psychopharmacology, cognitive testing, fMRI


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.

Hahn B, Stolerman IP (2002) Nicotine-Induced Attentional Enhancement in Rats: Effects of Chronic Exposure to Nicotine. Neuropsychopharmacology 27: 712-722.

Hahn B, Shoaib M, Stolerman IP (2002) Effects of Dopamine Receptor Antagonists on Nicotine-Induced Attentional Enhancement. Behavioural Pharmacology 13: 621-632.

Hahn B, Sharples CGV, Wonnacott S, Shoaib M, Stolerman IP (2003) Attentional Effects of Nicotinic Agonists in Rats. Neuropharmacology 44: 1054-1067.

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.

Hahn B, Ross TJ, Stein EA (2006) Neuroanatomical Dissociation Between Bottom-up and Top-Down Processes of Visuospatial Selective Attention. Neuroimage 32: 842-853.

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.

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.

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.

Gold JM, Hahn B, Strauss GP, Waltz JA (2009) Turning It Upside Down: Areas of Preserved Cognitive Function in Schizophrenia. Neuropsychology Review19: 294-311.

Hahn B, Robinson BM, Kaiser ST, Harvey AN, Beck VM, Leonard CJ, Kappenman ES, Luck SJ, Gold JM (2010) Failure of Schizophrenia Patients to Overcome Salient Distractors During Working Memory Encoding. Biological Psychiatry 68: 603-9.

Gold JM, Hahn B, Zhang W, Robinson BM, Kappenman ES, Beck VM, Luck SJ (2010) Reduced Capacity but Spared Precision and Maintenance of Working Memory Representations in Schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry 67: 570-7.

Hahn B, Shoaib M, Stolerman IP (2011) Selective Nicotinic Receptor Antagonists: Effects on Attention and Nicotine-Induced Attentional Enhancement. Psychopharmacology 217: 75-82.

Hahn B, Kappenman ES, Robinson BM, Fuller RL, Luck SJ, Gold JM (2011) Iconic Decay in Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin 37: 950-957.

Hahn B, Robinson BM, Harvey AN, Kaiser ST, Leonard CJ, Luck SJ, Gold JM (2012) Visuospatial Attention in Schizophrenia: Deficits in Broad Monitoring. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 12: 119-28.

Hahn B, Hollingworth A, Robinson BM, Kaiser ST, Leonard CJ, Beck VM, Kappenman ES, Luck SJ, Gold JM (2012) Control of Working Memory Content in Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research 134: 70-75.

Hahn B, Robinson BM, Kaiser ST, Matveeva TM, Harvey AN, Luck SJ, Gold JM (2012) Kraepelin and Bleuler Had It Right: People With Schizophrenia Have Deficits Sustaining Attention Over Time. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 121: 641-648.

Hahn B, Gold JM, Buchanan RW (2013) The Potential of Nicotinic Enhancement of Cognitive Remediation Training in Schizophrenia. Neuropharmacology 64:185-90.

Leonard CJ, Kaiser ST, Robinson BM, Kappenman ES, Hahn B, Gold JM, Luck SJ (in press) Toward the Neural Mechanisms of Reduced Working Memory Capacity in Schizophrenia. Cerebral Cortex.

Hahn B*#, Harvey AN, Concheiro-Guisan M, Huestis MA, Holcomb HH, Gold JM (in press) A Test of the Cognitive Self-Medication Hypothesis of Tobacco Smoking in Schizophrenia. Biological Psychiatry.