ICAL Scientific Advisors

Allyn Howlett, PhD

Professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Dr. Howlett is a member of the Center for Research on Substance Use and Addiction at Wake Forest, and of the NIDA-funded P50 Center for the Neurobiology of Addiction Treatment. Her lab investigates cannabinoid and endocannabinoid compounds that stimulate the CB1 receptor and regulate signal transduction pathways in cultured neuronal cells. She studies CB1 receptor phosphorylation as a means to direct signaling through specific G proteins, as well as the potential for drugs to direct the partnering with different G proteins leading to selection of certain signal transduction pathways (e.g., via adenylyl cyclase inhibition, MAPK activation, Ca2+ regulation, and NO production). The goal is to identify drugs that target neurons in the brain that promote therapeutically beneficial actions, but diminish the activity of neurons that produce untoward side effects.
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Yasmin Hurd, PhD

Ward-Coleman Chair of Translational Neuroscience and the Director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai

Dr. Yasmin Hurd’s multidisciplinary research investigates the neurobiology underlying addiction disorders and related psychiatric illnesses. A translational approach is used to examine molecular and neurochemical events in the human brain and comparable animal models in order to ascertain neurobiological correlates of behavior. A major focus of the research is directed to risk factors of addiction disorders including genetics as well as developmental exposure to drugs of abuse.
Learn more about Dr. Hurd | Learn more about Hurd Lab

Peter Kalivas, PhD

Professor and Chair in the Department of Neuroscience at the Medical University of South Carolina

The Kalivas lab studies neuroplasticity underlying the development of addiction to drugs of abuse, as well as the learning and memory deficits associated with impoverished rearing environments. Research is at the level of protein biochemistry, neural circuitry and behavioral modeling. The current focus for both addiction and isolation rearing is in adaptations in excitatory neurotransmission. In collaboration with electrophysiologists in the department (Drs Lavin, Seamans, Woodward) we are elucidating the fundamental role of extracellular glutamate homeostatis in regulating neurotransmission and neuroplasticity. This has led to preclinical and clinical evaluations of specific proteins as targets in treating addiction, including metabotropic glutamate receptors and the cystine-glutamate exchanger.
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Ken Mackie, PhD

Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington

Ken Mackie studies the role and function of the endocannabinoid system by using a combination of electrophysiological, imaging, biochemical and immunological approaches. His research interests also include the role of endocannabinoids in synaptic plasticity and the function of novel cannabinoid receptors.
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Marisa Roberto, PhD

Professor at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California

Dr. Marisa Roberto’s research aims to achieve a broader understanding of the functional and synaptic underpinnings that alter neurocircuits associated with the transition from occasional drug intake to drug addiction, with the long-term goal of elucidating treatment targets to alleviate drug dependence and prevent relapse.
Learn more about Dr. Roberto