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
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
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.