Behavioral Neuropharmacology Lab Collaborators


Ultimately, effective strategies for reducing compulsive drug use will require a multi-faceted approach in which genetic, neurobiological, individual, social, and cultural factors are considered.  If you subscribe to this belief, then transdisciplinary research is critical to the advancement of our science and ultimately our therapeutic tools.  To this end, we are involved in several transdisciplinary research projects and initiatives. Here’s a brief description of some of these efforts to give you a feel for the team science we engage in here.


Neurochemical Sex Differences with Nicotine and Methamphetamine

In the nicotine interoceptive conditioning task and in the methamphetamine and nicotine self-administration task, we have been working to extend our research program to examine sex difference. For interoceptive conditioning, we have recently found that females are more resistant to extinction than males (i.e., less sensitive to the loss of reinforcement). In meth self-administration, it appears that reinstatement of extinguished drug-taking behavior by a meth trigger is greater in female rats. Along with understanding relevant environmental and pharmacological processes, we are also moving toward understanding potential neural correlates of such differences, as well as the influence of estrous phase, with the help of collaborators. Dr. Rebecca Brock (UNL) is applying her statistical expertise to help analyze how estrous phase impacts acquisition and extinction of self-administration and interoceptive conditioning, and we have been working with Dr. Annette Fleckenstein and Dr. Glen Hanson (University of Utah) as well as Dr. Gurudutt Pendyala (UNMC) to better delineate the neurochemical processes involved. 

  • Pittenger ST, Swalve N, Chou S, Smith MD, Hoonakker AJ, Pudiak CM, Fleckenstein AE, Hanson GR, & Bevins RA (2016) Sex differences in neurotensin and substance P following nicotine self-administration in rats. Synapse, 70, 336-346.
  • Charntikov S, Pittenger ST, Thapa I, Bastola DR, Bevins RA, & Pendyala G (2015) Ibudilast reverses the decrease in phosphatidylethanolamine-binding protein 1 induced by methamphetamine intake. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 152, 15-23.
  • Charntikov S, Swalve N, Pittenger S, Fink K, Schepers S, Hadlock GC, Fleckenstein AE, Hu G, Li M, & Bevins RA (2013) Iptakalim attenuates self-administration and acquired goal-tracking behavior controlled by nicotine. Neuropharmacology, 75, 138-144.

Role of Extracellular Vesicles Differences in Methamphetamine Mediated Neurotoxicity

The purpose of this grant being conducted with Dr. Sowmya Yelamanchili (UNMC) is to investigate how toxicity evoked by methamphetamine self-administration impacts the miRNA cargo of extracellular vesicles. The outcomes of this research may identify a novel target for preventing and treating long-term neural damage evoked by chronic methamphetamine use.

Interplay between Interoception, Learning, and Drug Seeking

In this dual-site grant shared between ourselves and Dr. Joyce Besheer (UNC-Chapel Hill), we are investigating the impact of previous appetitive learning with the nicotine stimulus on nicotine's ability to enhance the potentiating effects of nicotine on drug-induced reinstatement of self-administration.