Understanding of the neurobiological basis of CNS disease to develop new and more effective treatment strategies.

The primary objective of my research program is to use our understanding of the neurobiological basis of CNS disease to develop new and more effective treatment strategies. Current research in my laboratory focuses on exploring the relationship between stress and drug addiction, identifying the neurobiological mechanisms underlying drug craving and relapse, and developing new medications for the management of addiction and other neuropsychiatric conditions. Specific projects include the study of addiction-related glucocorticoid-dependent neuroplasticity in stress and reward systems, determination of the role of CRF, noradrenergic, and dopaminergic signaling in stress-induced relapse, examination of the impact of chronic stress on addiction and depression, and investigation of the potential utility of plant-derived tetrahydroprotoberberine compounds (e.g., levo-tetrahydropalmatine) and novel cysteine prodrugs for the treatment of addiction. My laboratory uses a diverse range of behavioral, neurochemical, and cellular/molecular approaches and involves collaboration with a number of researchers at Marquette and other institutions. Research opportunities are available for post-docs and graduate and undergraduate students.

My laboratory is also involved in drug development activities in collaboration with the Baker lab at Marquette University and through agreements with Promentis Pharmaceuticals, a company that I co-founded along with Dr. Baker. (Promentis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.). Funding for my research is provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Lab Personnel

Graduate Students: Jordan Blacktop, Evan Graf, Oliver Vranjkovic

Post-Doctoral Fellow: Yazmin Figueroa-Guzman

Research Technician: Chris Mueller

Selected Publications


Schroeder Complex

Contact Biomedical Sciences

Department of Biomedical Sciences
College of Health Sciences
Schroeder Complex, 426
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881

Phone: (414) 288-7251
Fax: (414) 288-6564