Conan Kornetsky, PhD

Emeritus Professor, Psychiatry

Conan Kornetsky
72 E. Concord St Instructional (L)


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.


  • University of Kentucky, PhD
  • University of Kentucky, MS
  • University of Maine, BA


  • Published on 9/1/2012

    Iemolo A, Valenza M, Tozier L, Knapp CM, Kornetsky C, Steardo L, Sabino V, Cottone P. Withdrawal from chronic, intermittent access to a highly palatable food induces depressive-like behavior in compulsive eating rats. Behav Pharmacol. 2012 Sep; 23(5-6):593-602. PMID: 22854309.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/10/2010

    Kornetsky C, Knapp CM, Tozier L, Pak A. Medial forebrain stimulation enhances intracranial nociception and attenuates morphine analgesia suggesting the existence of an endogenous opioid antagonist. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2010 May; 95(3):273-7. PMID: 20149816.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/31/2009

    Knapp CM, Tozier L, Pak A, Ciraulo DA, Kornetsky C. Deep brain stimulation of the nucleus accumbens reduces ethanol consumption in rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2009 May; 92(3):474-9. PMID: 19463262.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/1/2009

    Knapp CM, Kornetsky C. Neural Basis of Pleasure and Reward, In Handbook of Neuroscience for the behavioral Scientist. Berston G (Ed). John Wiley and Sons. 2009.

  • Published on 8/27/2008

    Vassoler FM, Schmidt HD, Gerard ME, Famous KR, Ciraulo DA, Kornetsky C, Knapp CM, Pierce RC. Deep brain stimulation of the nucleus accumbens shell attenuates cocaine priming-induced reinstatement of drug seeking in rats. J Neurosci. 2008 Aug 27; 28(35):8735-9. PMID: 18753374.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/8/2007

    Kornetsky C. A walk through the history of research in drug abuse trends and fads. The Nathan B. Eddy Award address given at CPDD 2005: part II. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2007 Oct 8; 90(2-3):312-6. PMID: 17944026.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/11/2007

    Knapp CM, Mercado M, Markley TL, Crosby S, Ciraulo DA, Kornetsky C. Zonisamide decreases ethanol intake in rats and mice. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2007 May; 87(1):65-72. PMID: 17482246.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/1/2007

    Kornetsky C. A walk through the history of research in drug abuse, trends and fads, The Nathan B. Eddy award address given at CPDD 2005: Part I. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2007; 88:96-103.

  • Published on 1/1/2007

    Knapp CM, Datta S, Ciraulo DA, Kornetsky C. Effects of low dose cocaine on REM sleep in the freely moving rat. Sleep Biol Rhythms. 2007 Jan; 5(1):55-62. PMID: 18568092.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/8/2006

    Crosby SJ, Knapp CM, Kornetsky C. Nociceptive threshold and analgesic response to morphine in aged and young adult rats as determined by thermal radiation and intracerebral electrical stimulation. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2006 May; 84(1):148-57. PMID: 16759686.

    Read at: PubMed

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