Vidhya Kumaresan, Ph.D.


Research Assistant Professor of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics
Department of Pharmacology
Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology

Ph.D.: University of Rhode Island

Research Interests

Dr. Kumaresan’s overall research objective is to study neuronal activity-dependent plasticity and its relevance for brain disorders. The current focus of Dr. Kumaresan’s research is to understand the neurobiological bases of addiction to psychostimulants. Recidivism to drug abuse is a major hurdle in the successful treatment of addiction. Illicit drug use usurps neural circuits involved in survival enhancing behaviors. The goal is to elucidate the cellular and molecular underpinnings of drug-induced enduring neural plasticity in these circuits using a combination of behavioral, cellular and molecular approaches. In particular, Dr. Kumaresan employs a novel approach of using cell-permeable peptides that disrupt protein-protein interactions in vivo in order to study ongoing behavior. These approaches are expected to lead to successful treatment of relapse precipitated by drug re-exposure, drug-associated cues and stress. Knowledge gained from these studies will also be applicable to the treatment of other brain dysfunctions involving persistent memories such as PTSD.

Sadri-Vakili. G., V. Kumaresan, H.D.Schmidt, K.R. Famous, P. Chawla, F.Vassoler, R.Overland, E.Xia, C.E.Bass, E.Terwilliger, R.C.Pierce and J-H. Cha (2010).Cocaine-induced chromatin remodeling increases BDNF transcription in the medial prefrontal cortex, which alters the reinforcing efficacy of cocaine. Journal of Neuroscience 30 (35): 11735-11744.

Kumaresan.V, Y. Menglu, J.Yee, H.D. Schmidt, K.R. Famous, and R.C. Pierce (2009). Role of nucleus accumbens metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR5) in the reinstatement of cocaine-seeking Behavioral Brain Research 202:238-244. PMCID: PMC2844436

Famous, K.R., V. Kumaresan, G. Sadri-Vakili, H.D. Schmidt, D.F. Mierke, J.-H.J. Cha and R.C. Pierce. Phosphorylation-dependent trafficking of GluR2-containing AMPA receptors in the nucleus accumbens shell contributes to the reinstatement of cocaine seeking. Journal of Neuroscience 2008, 28 (43): 11061-1170. PMCID: PMC2601563.

Anderson, S.M., *K.R. Famous, *G. Sadri-Vakili, *V. Kumaresan, H.D. Schmidt, C. Bass, E. Terwilliger, J.-H.J. Cha and R.C. Pierce (2008). Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II(CaM-KII): the biochemical bridge linking nucleus accumbens dopamine and glutamate systems in the reinstatement of cocaine seeking. Nature Neuroscience 11(3):344-353
(denotes co-first authors).

Pierce, R.C. and V. Kumaresan (2006). The mesolimbic dopamine system: the final common pathway for the reinforcing effect of drugs of abuse? Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 30:216-238.

Kumaresan, V., C. Kang and A.M.Simmons, (1998) Development and Differentiation of Auditory Brainstem Nuclei of Rana catesbeiana Across metamorphosis : An Acetylcholinesterase Histochemical Study. Brain Behavior and Evolution. 52 (3): 111-125.

Schmidt, H.D., S.M. Anderson, K.R. Famous, V. Kumaresan, and R.C. Pierce (2005) Anatomy and pharmacology of cocaine priming-induced reinstatement of drug seeking. European Journal of Pharmacology 526:65-76.

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Office: L-616
Phone: 617-358-9580
Fax: 617-358-6583