Addictions Research Laboratories

The Addictions Research Laboratories are located in the Department of Pharmacology and directed by T. Celeste Napier, PhD.

Our work

The laboratory focuses on changes in the mammalian brain that are imposed by abused drugs (e.g., cocaine, methamphetamine, dopamine agonists and heroin), toxic proteins expressed by HIV and biological factors derived from the gastrointestinal system (i.e., the gut). We are studying the pathophysiology and altered signal transduction related to drug abuse and risk-taking behaviors in neuronal systems that regulate reward, craving and relapse. We are interested in identifying targets and compounds that may prove useful in treating these neuropathologies.

We evaluate numerous behavioral readouts from rodents, including motor skills, conditioned place preference/aversion, self-administration and discounting tasks with intracranial self-stimulation as the positive reinforcer. We implement these tasks in rodent models of human Parkinson’s disease (using the neurotoxin 6-OHDA) and HIV/AIDS (using HIV-1 transgenic rats). 

We are grateful to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the National Center for Responsible Gaming and the National Institutes of Health for funding our scientific work.

Our team

Current members

T. Celeste Napier, PhD

Brinda Desai Bradaric, PhD
Assistant Professor

Amanda L. Persons, PhD
Assistant Professor

Members who recently completed their training

Stephanie E. Tedford, PhD (graduated 2015)
Postdoctoral Fellow, LumiThera, Inc., Poulsbo, Wa.

Wesley N. Wayman, PhD (Co-Advisor: Xiu-Ti Hu, MD, PhD; graduated 2015)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, S.C.

Sandra L. Rokosik, PhD (graduated 2013)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Management of Complex Chronic Care, Center of Excellence, Hines VA Hospital, Maywood, Ill.

Sharanya M. Kousik, PhD (Co-advisor: Paul Carvey, PhD; graduated 2013)
Principal Medical Writer, AbbVie, North Chicago, Ill.

Xiu-Ti Hu, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Rush University

Steven M. Graves, PhD  (graduated 2012)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Physiology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago

Robin M. Voigt, PhD (graduated 2010)
Assistant Professor, Division for Alcohol Research, Department of Internal Medicine, Rush University

Amy A. Herrold, PhD (graduated 2010)
Research Health Scientist, Center for Management of Complex Chronic Care, Center of Excellence, Hines VA Hospital, Maywood, Ill.
Research Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago