• United Kingdom

  • King Henry I Street, King Henry Building

    PO1 2DY Portsmouth

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I supervise PhD students who are interested in the neural circuits and pathways that underlie impulsive/compulsive behaviour. This can be in the fields of addiction, neuropsychology/neuropsychiatry, or more generally in animal behaviour and cognition. Please contact Dr Parker for enquiries.

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Personal profile


I was educated (BSc, MSc, PhD) at the University of Southampton. Following a Post-Doc at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) I joined Professor Caroline Brennan's group at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), where I pinoeered many behavioural neuroscience techniques in adult zebrafish. I took up a lectureship in Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics at QMUL, working on the Joint Programme with Nanchang University Medical School (China). I joined the University of Portsmouth in 2015, where I set up the Brain and Behaviour Lab, and the Zebrafish Research Facility.

My lab's research aims to understand the fundamental biology of a range of neuropsychiatric, neurodevelopmental, and neurodegenerative disorders. We primarily use zebrafish as a model species to study interactions between molecular (genetic/epigenetic) and environmental (e.g., alcohol, stress) factors, and the associated neural circuits, that underlie several such disorders (eg ADHD, Alzheimer's Addiction). We then translate these finding to humans, and have an active clinical research programme (with Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust). Our approach is theoretically guided by the principles of precision medicine, i.e., that understanding the biology of conditions will help develop individualised treatments for patients. We employ a broad range of research methodologies, spanning psychopharmacology, neuroscience, genetics, psychology and public health. 

As well as translational research, we have a strong interest in animal behaviour, cognition and welfare. In particular, we are interested in the impact of innate differences ('personality' characteristics) and environmental challenges (typically anthropogenic stressors) on behaviour and welfare. I am Associate Editor of the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour, and I was (previously) a member of the UK Government Advisory committee on the use of animals in scientific reserch (Animals in Science Committee).

My lab is currenty supported by grants from NC3Rs; Dstl (Porton Down); INTERREG Channel (EU); Foundation for Liver Research; NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN); ESRC [via South Coast DTP]; Alzheimer’s Research UK; Petroleum Technology Development Fund (Nigeria). 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

Education/Academic qualification

Ph.D., University of Southampton

1 Sep 200530 Sep 2008

Award Date: 17 Jan 2009

External positions

Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London

30 Aug 20141 Sep 2015


  • BF Psychology
  • neuroscience
  • biopsychology
  • QP Physiology
  • neurophysiology
  • RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
  • addiction
  • drug and alcohol


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  • UPSU Award

    Parker, Matt (Recipient), Jan 2018

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)