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Roger D. Spealman , PhD

Professor of Psychobiology in the Department of Psychiatry
Associate Director for Scientific Affairs
Chair, Division of Behavioral Biology

Drug addiction exacts an enormous toll on society, accounting for over half a million deaths annually and billions of dollars in economic costs. Dr. Spealman and his colleagues in the Division of Behavioral Biology are investigating the neurobiological basis of cocaine, heroin and sedative addiction using advanced primate behavioral models in conjunction with neuropharmacological and physiological approaches. The goal of this research is to develop improved pharmacotherapies to treat drug addiction and prevent relapse.

Anxiety disorders are among the most frequently diagnosed of all neuropsychiatric disorders. Research in the Division of Behavioral Biology is helping to understand brain mechanisms, particularly GABAA receptor mechanisms,that underlie the anti-anxiety and addictive properties of anxiolytic medications. Identification of new drugs that are clinically effective yet lack abuse liability and other untoward side-effects may lead to improved treatment of anxiety as well as new strategies for controlling sedative and alcohol addiction.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. In collaboration with the Neuroregeneration Laboratory of McLean Hospital, the Division of Behavioral Biology uses advanced nonhuman primate models of Parkinson's disease to investigate novel neuroprotective and neuroregenerative treatment approaches.

Brownell, A.L., Jenkins, B.G., Elmaleh, D.R., Deacon, T.W., Spealman, R.D., Isacson, O. 1998. Combined PET/MRS brain studies show dynamic and long-term physiological changes in a primate model of Parkinson disease. Nature Med. 4:1308-1312.

Rowlett, J.K., Spealman, R.D., and Lelas, S. 1999. Discriminative-stimulus effects of zolpidem in squirrel monkeys: comparison with conventional benzodiazepines and sedative-hypnotics. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 291:1233-1241.

Platt, D.M., Rowlett, J.K., Spealman, R.D. 2000. Dissociation of cocaine-antagonist properties and motoric effects of the D1 receptor partial agonists SKF 83959 and SKF 77434. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 293:1017-1026.

Khroyan, T.V., Barrett-Larimore, R.L., Rowlett, J.K., Spealman, R.D. 2000. Dopamine D1- and D2-like receptor mechanisms in relapse to cocaine-seeking behavior: effects of selective antagonists and agonists. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 294:680-687.


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