Kimberly A. Leite-Morris, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry

(857) 364-5622
150 S Huntington Avenue


Dr. Leite-Morris is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Psychiatry and Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Boston University School of Medicine and directs a neurochemistry and behavioral neuroscience laboratory at the VA Boston Healthcare System. Dr. Leite-Morris’ primary research interests are in determining the neurochemical mechanisms that underlie the anticipation, intense “craving” and repeated consumption of ethanol and substance abuse. She has established a rodent model of ethanol-self administration paired with current methods of in vivo microdialysis that procedurally separates and quantifies neurotransmitter levels during the different elements of the addiction process. Her methods incorporate a pharmacological approach utilizing novel therapeutic agents including novel positive allosteric modulators of the GABA receptor that culminate in alterations of dopamine, GABA and glutamate.

Dr. Leite-Morris has established a behavioral phenotyping laboratory at the VABHS to examine fear conditioning and stress as they relate to alcohol-directed behaviors in genetically modified mice.Dr. Leite-Morris’ collaborative projects include opiate reward and extinction, fear conditioning, and alcohol and substance abuse in penetrating brain injury and shock wave. Dr. Leite-Morris received her doctorate from the University of Rhode Island in the Department of Biochemisty and Molecular Genetics and completed her NIAAA NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies where she remains an Affiliate Faculty member. She is supported by a grant from NIAAA. Interested students can contact Dr. Leite-Morris at

Other Positions

  • VA Boston Healthcare System



  • University of Rhode Island, PhD


  • Published on 12/22/2017

    Carreras I, Aytan N, Mellott T, Choi JK, Lehar M, Crabtree L, Leite-Morris K, Jenkins BG, Blusztajn JK, Dedeoglu A. Anxiety, neuroinflammation, cholinergic and GABAergic abnormalities are early markers of Gulf War Illness in a mouse model of the disease. Brain Res. 2017 Dec 22. PMID: 29277710.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/3/2017

    Kaplan GB, Leite-Morris KA, Wang L, Rumbika KK, Heinrichs SC, Zeng X, Wu L, Arena DT, Teng YD. Pathophysiological Bases of Comorbidity: Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. J Neurotrauma. 2017 Nov 03. PMID: 29017388.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/16/2017

    Maccioni P, Lorrai I, Contini A, Leite-Morris K, Colombo G. Microinjection of baclofen and CGP7930 into the ventral tegmental area suppresses alcohol self-administration in alcohol-preferring rats. Neuropharmacology. 2017 Oct 16. PMID: 29050951.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/26/2014

    Maccioni P, Vargiolu D, Thomas AW, Malherbe P, Mugnaini C, Corelli F, Leite-Morris KA, Gessa GL, Colombo G. Inhibition of alcohol self-administration by positive allosteric modulators of the GABAB receptor in rats: lack of tolerance and potentiation of baclofen. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015 May; 232(10):1831-41. PMID: 25420609.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/7/2014

    Leite-Morris KA, Kobrin KL, Guy MD, Young AJ, Heinrichs SC, Kaplan GB. Extinction of opiate reward reduces dendritic arborization and c-Fos expression in the nucleus accumbens core. Behav Brain Res. 2014 Apr 15; 263:51-9. PMID: 24406724.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/31/2013

    Heinrichs SC, Leite-Morris KA, Rasmusson AM, Kaplan GB. Repeated valproate treatment facilitates fear extinction under specific stimulus conditions. Neurosci Lett. 2013 Sep 27; 552:108-13. PMID: 23916657.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/6/2013

    Heinrichs SC, Leite-Morris KA, Guy MD, Goldberg LR, Young AJ, Kaplan GB. Dendritic structural plasticity in the basolateral amygdala after fear conditioning and its extinction in mice. Behav Brain Res. 2013 Jul 1; 248:80-4. PMID: 23570859.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/22/2012

    Nic Dhonnchadha BÁ, Lin A, Leite-Morris KA, Kaplan GB, Man HY, Kantak KM. Alterations in expression and phosphorylation of GluA1 receptors following cocaine-cue extinction learning. Behav Brain Res. 2013 Feb 1; 238:119-23. PMID: 23085477.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/18/2012

    Nic Dhonnchadha BÁ, Lovascio BF, Shrestha N, Lin A, Leite-Morris KA, Man HY, Kaplan GB, Kantak KM. Changes in expression of c-Fos protein following cocaine-cue extinction learning. Behav Brain Res. 2012 Sep 1; 234(1):100-6. PMID: 22721675.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/8/2011

    Fitzgerald DM, Charness ME, Leite-Morris KA, Chen S. Effects of ethanol and NAP on cerebellar expression of the neural cell adhesion molecule L1. PLoS One. 2011; 6(9):e24364. PMID: 21931691.

    Read at: PubMed

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