Conan Kornetsky, Ph.D.


Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology

Ph.D.: University of Kentucky

Laboratory of Behavioral Pharmacology

Research Interests

Neuronal Bases for the Rewarding Effects of Abused Substances

Research in the behavioral pharmacology laboratory is directed toward the determination of neuronal mechanisms involved in the behavioral effects of drugs. Much of this research is focused on the brain’s motivational systems. Changes in these systems are directly related to the rewarding effects associated with the action of the abused psychomotor stimulants, e.g., cocaine and opioids, e.g., heroin. There is reason to believe that these same systems are also affected, albeit in opposite ways, in clinical depression and anxiety. The research of graduate students in this laboratory will continue to study the mechanisms involved in the rewarding actions of these abused substances using the following techniques and procedures: stereotaxic surgery for implanting intercerebral stimulating electrodes and/or cannulae directly into specific brain sites, the use of psychophysical methods for determining thresholds for various types of intracerebral electrical stimulation (e.g., appetitive, aversive), the use of an intravenous drug self-administration model in rats, the use of the quantitative 2-[14C] deoxyglucose method for determining cerebral metabolic rates of glucose in specific brain areas., and the evaluation of brain-stimulation reward in knockout mice models.