Psychology (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Janice Steirn


The development of psychotropic agents changed the face of medicine as it allowed for the prevention of psychological and somatic adverse effects caused by trauma or mental disorders. Psychotropic agents are a loosely defined group of drugs which affect consciousness through pharmacological action on the nervous system. Current psychotropic agents act as anxiolytics, antidepressants, hallucinogens, and anesthetics. These compounds may reduce anxiety, relieve pain, and compensate for mental irregularities, but are also responsible for serious complications, including paralysis and death. The discovery of novel psychotropic agents which exhibit high potency and low toxicity remain in high demand. The present study aims to identify the psychotropic potential of quinoline-derived compounds as well as investigate possible mechanisms by which these compounds may be working. The initial screening of 13 quinoline derivatives revealed a varying degree of effects on motor function in fish. Preliminary data show that treated zebrafish embryos exhibit a reduction in motor activity, loss of balance, and failure to respond to touch. We have examined the effects of these compounds on heart rate and found that treated embryos exhibit a decrease in heart rate. Once zebrafish embryos have been removed from the compound, the heart rate returns to normal, indicating the ability of these embryos to recover from prolonged exposure to the compounds. Additionally, we explore the pain-relieving potential of select compounds by employing a pain-based temperature assay. Based on the strong yet reversible phenotypes observed, we posit that ion modulation may be the mechanism of action for these compounds.