Our group investigates a native plant known as Ketum/kratom (Mitragyna speciosa. Korth), that has long been used by common folks as a traditional cure for numerous ailments.

Recently because of it opioid-like biochemical properties and accessibility, its abuse potential among human users becoming of societal concerns. However, the underlying neural mechanism of its abuse liability remains poorly understood. 


Principal Investigator:

Associate Professor Dr. Muzaimi Mustapha (Dept. of Neuroscience, USM)


Dr. Nurul Aiman Mohd Yusuf (Dept. of Anatomy, USM)

Dr. Nur Asyilla Che Jalil (Dept. of Pathology)

Prof. Dr. Sharif Mahsuri Mansor (Center for Drug Research, USM)

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zurina Hassan (Centre for Drug Research)

Dr. Muthuraju Sangu (Dept. of Neurosciences, USM)

Dr. Eric Ho Tatt Wei (CISIR, UTP)

Dr. Anwar Norazit (UM)

Dr. Muhammad Zulfadhli Mehat (UPM) 

Graduate Students:

Nurul Iman Wan Ismail (Research Mode: PhD )

To understand the correlative relationship between key drug molecular targets of mouse brain reward circuitry in mitragynine (kratom dominant alkaloid) abuse potential.

Ummi Nasrah Talib (Research Mode: PhD)

To explore the rewarding properties of low dose Mitragynine using Conditioned Place Preference (CPP) in mice and also incorporating mice brain neuroimaging in the research.

Nur Aimi Zawami Ahmad (INP-Doctoral)

To study the role of Endocannabinoid receptor in initiating abuse potential of Mitragyna speciosa alkaloid, Mitragynine in sensitised Albino Swiss mice by using behavioural methods and molecular genetic methods.


  1. Jayabalan, Nanthini & Ismail, Nurul Iman W & M Mansur, Sharif & P Muller, Christian & Muzaimi, Mustapha. (2015). Cerebellum and endocannabinoid receptors: a new neurobiological link for mitragynine (Mitragyna speciosa Korth) abuse liability. Journal of Addiction and Dependence. 1. 1-7.
  2. Ismail, Nurul Iman W & Jayabalan, Nanthini & Mansor, Sharif & P Müller, Christian & Muzaimi, Mustapha. (2016). Chronic mitragynine (kratom) enhances punishment resistance in natural reward seeking and impairs place learning in mice. Addiction biology. 22.