Programs & laboratories

Laboratory for Neuropharmacology of Drug Abuse

Investigators in the laboratory study the effects of drugs of abuse on the brain and on behavior. Currently there are four projects receiving ongoing funding.

Social and Environmental Factors in Adolescent Stimulant Abuse
PI: Sari Izenwasser, Ph.D.

This project is focused on studying the effects of social and environmental conditions in mediating the behavioral and neurochemical effects of MDMA (Ecstasy) in adolescents.

Cocaine behavior: Regulation by kappa-opioids and Serotonin
PI : Sari Izenwasser, Ph.D.

The focus of this grant is on the effects of kappa opioid agonist and antagonist treatments on serotonin systems and on the effects of cocaine. The proposed studies are both neurochemical and behavioral in nature (e.g. receptor binding and autoradiography, functional studies of dopamine uptake and release, and second messenger studies including adenylyl cyclase activity and GTPgS binding correlated with behavioral studies to determine whether any of the observed biochemical changes are physiologically relevant).

Sex and Gender Influences on Addiction and Health: A Developmental Perspective
PI: Emmalee Bandstra, M.D., Department of Pediatrics
Co – Investigator: Sari Izenwasser, Ph.D.

Project 2: Sex Differences in Drug Effects: The Adolescent Trajectory
PI: Sari Izenwasser, Ph.D.

This project is part of the Center on Addiction and Health in Women, Children and Adolescents at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The project involves studies of the effects of nicotine, marijuana, and cocaine in adolescents.

Development of Cannabinoid Receptor Based Medications for Drug Addiction
PI : Mark Trudell, Ph.D. (University of New Orleans)
Co – Investigator: Sari Izenwasser, Ph.D.

It has been suggested that the cannabinoid receptor system can indirectly modulate dopaminergic transmission and thus mediate the effects of psychostimulants on brain circuitry. The aim of this project is to develop a clinically useful cannabinoid antagonist that could have application for the treatment of cannabinoid and/or psychostimulant addiction.

Contact Information
Sari Izenwasser, Ph.D.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
(305) 243-2032