David Finn is Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Science Foundation Ireland Principal Investigator, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Centre for Pain Research ( and Leader of the Galway Neuroscience Centre ( at NUI Galway.  Professor Finn graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Biotechnology from NUI Galway in 1997 and a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Bristol in 2001.  From 2001 to 2004, Professor Finn worked as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Neuroscience, University of Nottingham.  In 2004, he was appointed to a Lectureship (Below the Bar) in the Department of Physiology, NUI, Galway.  In 2007, he was appointed to a Lectureship (Above the Bar) in Pharmacology and Therapeutics and was promoted to a Personal Professorship in Pharmacology and Therapeutics in 2014. 

The overall aim of Professor Finn’s research is to increase our understanding of the neurobiology of pain and psychiatric disorders including anxiety and depression. 

Professor Finn is a former recipient of the President of Ireland Young Researcher Award from Science Foundation Ireland, the Wyeth Award for outstanding research in Preclinical Psychopharmacology from the British Association for Psychopharmacology and the Pain Research Medal from the Irish Pain Society. 

Professor Finn is currently President-Elect of the Irish Pain Society, and he sits on the Scientific Advisory Panel of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, as well as the Council of the Biomedical Sciences Section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland and the Council of Neuroscience Ireland.  He is also a member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, the Society for Neuroscience and the International Association for the Study of Pain and a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Psychopharmacology.  In addition to directing his research programme, Professor Finn teaches a range of Pharmacology topics to undergraduate and postgraduate science and medical students.

Summary of Research Interests

The overall objective of Professor Finn’s research is to increase understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the development and treatment of pain, inflammation, mood disorders and impaired cognition.  This work is concerned with elucidating the role of a number of different receptor types (cannabinoid, opioid, adrenoceptor, imidazoline, serotonin, vanilloid, N-type Ca2+channels) in mediating and modulating behavioural, neurochemical and neuroendocrine responses relevant to pain, anxiety, depression and cognition. An integrative, whole systems neuroscience approach is employed, combining behavioural models with in vivo and ex vivo measurement of neurotransmitters, lipids (e.g. endocannabinoids), proteins or genes (e.g. cytokines, receptors, enzymes, signal transduction molecules, immediate early genes and transcription factors) in discrete brain regions and assessment of hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis function.  This research, which is funded from a number of competitive sources including Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Health Research Board, The Wellcome Trust, the Higher Education Authority, the Irish Research Council and Industry (e.g. Covidien, Alkermes) aims to make a significant contribution to the knowledge-base on pain and stress-related psychiatric disorders and support the development of novel therapeutic agents for their treatment.

Research Techniques

Behavioural models of pain, inflammation, aversion and cognition; Systemic and central administration of drugs; In vivomicrodialysis; HPLC; Liquid chromatography  with tandem mass spectrometry for measurment of endocannabinoids and related lipids; In vitro receptor autoradiography and [35S]GTPyS autoradiography; ELISA; Western blotting; Radioimmunoassay; Radiometric enzyme activity assays;  In situ hybridisation; Immunohistochemistry.

Link to Recent Publications


Post-doctoral researchers:                                                                                                                                            
Dr. Kieran Rea (2006-present)  
Dr. Bright Okine (2011-present)

Post-graduate students:   
Dara Bree (2011-present) 
Elaine Jennings (2011-present) 
Manish Kumar Madasu (2012-present) 
Fiona McGowan (2013-present)

Dr. Michelle Roche (2005-2008) 
Dr. Ryan Butler (2006-2009) 
Dr. Gemma Ford (2005-2011) 
Dr. Karen Smith (2006-2009) 
Dr. Weredeselam Olango (2008-2012) 
Dr. Cliona O'Mahony (2011-2012) 
Jacqueline O'Connor (2010-2012) 
Dr. Orla Moriarty (2007-2013) 
Dr. Yvonne Lang (2008-2013)  
Dr. William Devane (2011-2014)

Contact details 
Professor David Finn 
Pharmacology and Therapeutics 
School of Medicine  
National University of Ireland, Galway 
University Road 

Phone:             +353-91-495280 
Fax:                 +353-91-495586 
Web:        and