NEUROBIOLOGY OF STRESS AND ADDICTION LAB
Males and females show different vulnerability to stress-related disorders such as anxiety, depression, and addiction. This may be driven by sex differences in brain structure, chemistry, and circulating hormones in adulthood. Adolescence is a period of neural plasticity during which experiences or substances that modulate endocrine systems (e.g., stress, alcohol) could interfere with normal neural remodeling and alter sexually dichotomous behaviors.
Our research uses rodent models to understand the neural, hormonal, and behavioral (e.g., impulsivity, anxiety) determinants of addiction and how susceptibility to stress-related disorders may be shaped perinatally (around the time of birth) and during adolescent development.
*Application inquiries: Please email Lynn Bengston at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Principal Investigator: Heather N. Richardson, Ph.D.
- Senior Research Technician: Lynn Bengston, M.S.
- Neuroscience and Behavior program graduate students: Yi-Ling Lu, Jesse McClure, Wanette Vargas, Guillaume Pagnier (Andrew Cohen's lab), Andrea Silva
- Honors thesis projects: Sara Woldemariam, Erin Caffrey
- Independent studies or research assistantships: Callie Dacyczyn, Ryan Tressel, Dimitria Gomes, Sarah Brem, Jackson Mitchell, Rebecca Zamdborg, Yun-Hee Seol
Edwards S, Little H, Richardson HN, Vendruscolo, L. (in press). Divergent Regulation of Distinct Glucocorticoid Systems in Alcohol Dependence. Alcohol.
Saba LM, Flink SC, Vanderlinden LA, Israel Y, Tampier L, Colombo G, Kiianmaa K, Bell RL, Printz MP, Flodman P, Koob G, Richardson HN, Lombardo J, Hoffman PL, Tabakoff B. (2015). The sequenced rat brain transcriptome, its use in identifying networks predisposing alcohol consumption. FEBS J. 282(18): 3556-78.
Vargas WM, Bengston, L, Gilpin NW, Whitcomb BW, Richardson HN (2014). Alcohol binge drinking during adolescence or dependence during adulthood reduces prefrontal myelin in male rats. Journal of Neuroscience. 34: 14777-14782.
* Highlighted in This Week in the Journal
* Society for Neuroscience published a press release on our study
* International coverage of our study included Science Daily, Nature World News, Boston's NPR news station, Medical News Today, University Herald, New England Public Radio, National Concil on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Partnership for drug Free Kids, etc.
James MH, Erin J. Campbell, EJ, Walker FR, Smith DW, Richardson HN, Hodgson DM, Dayas CV (2014). Wheel running prevents early life stress-induced deficits in orexin function in male but not female rats. Front Beh Neurosci 8:244.
Lu YL and Richardson HN (2014). Alcohol, stress hormones, and the prefrontal cortex: a proposed pathway to the dark side of addiction. Neuroscience, 277: 139-151.
Vanderlinden LA, Saba LM, Printz MP, Flodman P, Koob G, Richardson HN, Hoffman PL, Tabakoff B (2014) Is the Alcohol Deprivation Effect Genetically Mediated? Studies with HXB/BXH Recombinant Inbred Rat Strains. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 38: 2148-57.
McClure J, Podos J, and Richardson HN (2014). Isolating the delay component of impulsive choice in adolescent rats. Front. Integr. Neurosci. 8:3. doi: 10.3389/fnint.2014.00003.
Karanikas CA, Lu YL, and Richardson HN (2013). Adolescent drinking targets corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) peptide labeled cells in the central amygdala of male and female rats. Neuroscience, 249 (98-105)
* Selected for the cover*
Gilpin NW, Karanikas CA, Richardson HN (2012) Adolescent Binge Drinking Leads to Changes in Alcohol Drinking, Anxiety, and Amygdalar Corticotropin Releasing Factor Cells in Adulthood in Male Rats. PLoS ONE 7(2): e31466. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031466
Gilpin NW, Smith AD, Cole M, Weiss F, Koob GF, Richardson HN (2009). Operant Behavior and Alcohol Levels in Blood and Brain of Alcohol-Dependent Rats. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 33: 2113-23.
Richardson HN*, Chan SH*, Crawford EF, Lee YK, Funk C, Koob GF, and Mandyam CD (2009). Permanent impairment of birth and survival of cortical and hippocampal proliferating cells following excessive drinking during alcohol dependence. Neurobiology of Disease, 36: 1-10. (*Authors contributed equally)
Witkiewitz K*, Holmes A*, Ray LA*, Murphy JG*, Richardson HN*, Chen YC, McDevitt-Murphy ME, Cruz MT, Roberto M (2009). Young Investigator Award symposium. Alcohol, 43: 499-508. (*Authors contributed equally)
Mandyam CD, Crawford EF, Eisch AJ, Rivier CL, and Richardson HN (2008). Stress experienced in utero reduces sexual dichotomies in neurogenesis, microenvironment, and cell death in the adult rat hippocampus. Developmental Neurobiology 68: 575-589
Richardson HN, Lee SY, O'Dell LE, Koob GF, and Rivier CL (2008). Alcohol self-administration acutely stimulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, but alcohol dependence leads to a dampened neuroendocrine state. European Journal of Neuroscience, 28: 1641-53.
Richardson HN, Zhao Y, Fekete M, Funk CK, Wirsching P, Janda K, Zorrilla EP, and Koob GF (2008). MPZP: a novel small molecule corticotropin-releasing factor type 1 receptor (CRF1) antagonist. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior 88: 497-510.
Richardson HN, Zorrilla EP, Mandyam CD, and Rivier CL (2006). Exposure to repetitive versus varied stress during prenatal development generates two distinct anxiogenic and neuroendocrine profiles in adulthood. Endocrinology, 147: 2506-17.
Richardson HN, Nelson ALA, Ahmed EI, Parfitt DB, Romeo RD, and Sisk CL (2004). Female pheromones stimulate release of luteinizing hormone and testosterone without altering GnRH mRNA in adult male Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus). General and Comparative Endocrinology, 138: 211-217.
Richardson HN, Gore AC, Venier JE, Romeo RD, and Sisk CL (2004). Increased expression of forebrain GnRH mRNA and changes in testosterone negative feedback following pubertal maturation. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 214: 63-70.
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- Undergraduate Commonwealth College honors student Ryan Tressel was awarded an research grant for his honors project. Way to go Ryan!
- Summer internships: Bay Path University student Azinne Zarrabi spends the summer in the Richardson Lab to learn about myelin genes and adolescent development. Amherst High School student Oressa Gray-Mullen spends the summer in our lab to learn about microglia, oligodendrocytes, and alcohol.
- NSB masters student Guillaume Pagnier won the 2015 National Council on Problem Gambling Outstanding Masters Thesis Award. Great job Guillaume!
- Dr. Richardson gives a Presidential Symposium lecture at the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology Meeting in Pacific Grove, CA, USA.
- Jesse McClure successfully defended his dissertation and will soon be starting a postdoctoral position in the Karlsson lab at UMass Med. Congratulations to Dr. McClure!!
- Dr. Richardson visits the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine to talk to soldiers and scientists about the effects of alcohol on the brain, Military Nutrition Division, Natick, MA USA.
- Dr. Richardson gives an invited lecture in the Psychology Coliquium Series at Northeastern University, Boston MA, USA.
- Dr. Richardson gives an invited lecture in the Behavioral Neuroscience Seminar Psychology Coliquium Series, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC USA.
- Dr. Richardson gives the Behavioral Neuroscience Lecture in the Psychology Colloquium Series at Connecticut College, New London, CT USA
- NSB doctoral student Wanette Vargas is awarded a Dissertation Research Grant. Way to go Wanette!
- NSB masters student Guillaume Pagnier presents his masters thesis research investigating how personality relates to the physiological and behavioral responses to a gambling task in humans. Guillaume's poster was presented at the NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiciton in Las Vegas.
- Dr. Richardson speaks about her research at the Kinesiology Department Symposium in the School of Public Health at UMass Amherst.
- Dr. Richardson gives an invited lecture on her research at an international conference on alcohol and stress in Volterra, Italy.
- Congratulations to Jesse McClure - winner of the NSB Vincent Dethier Award! This prestigious award is given annually to a doctoral student who shows the highest academic and research achievement, and has signficantly contributed to the NSB program.
- NSB doctoral student Yi-Ling Lu wins the best poster award at the Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium!
- NSB doctoral student Yi-Ling Lu is awarded a Dissertation Research Grant. Way to go Yi-Ling!
- Dr. Heather Richardson gives a talk on binge drinking and prefrontal myelin at for the Neuroscience Program in Department of Biology at Bay Path College, Longmeadow, MA
- NSB grad student Jesse McClure gives an invited lecture titled "Neurobiology of Operant Learning" at the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, Warwick RI
- NSB graduate student Jesse McClure wins the best poster award at the Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium!
- NSB graduate student Wanette Vargas was awarded a SACNAS Travel Scholarship to present her research at the national conference.
- Dr. Richardson was awarded a Student Choice Award - an honor to recognize the signficant impact she had on the college experience of first-year students.
LAB ALUMNI - WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
FORMER GRADUATE STUDENTS:
Chrisanthi Karanikas (2010-2012) MS in Neuroscience and Behavior Program; Masters Thesis
Current position: Senior Associate, Scientific Communications, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis
FORMER UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS:
Divya Harpalani (2011-2014) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Commonwealth Honors Project
Current position: Medical student, University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine
Sean McDougall (2011-2014) BS in Biology, Minor in Chemistry; Commonwealth Honors Project - collaborative project with Li lab; Junior Fellow Award
Current position: Medical student, New York Medical College
Becca Adams (2012-2014) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Independent Study
Current position: Science Teacher, UP Academy Boston
Jacqueline DiBella (2012-2014) BS in Psych-Neuro; Commonwealth Honors Project
Current position: Graduate student, Boston University School of Public Health
Patrick Notini (2012-2013) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Independent study
Current position: Medical Student, University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Aditi Dave (2011-2014) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Commonwealth Honors Project
Current position: Pharmacy Assistant, CVS Pharmacy
Frank Jackson (2011-2013) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Independent Study
Current position: Research Database Manager, Boston Children's Hospital
Kerri Connolly (2011-2013) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Commonwealth Honors Project
Marina Shirokova (2011-2013) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Independent Study
Current position: EMT at Life Line Ambulance Service, Inc.
Kyle O'Donnell (2011-2013) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Independent Study
Current position: Research Assistant, Boston Children's Hospital
Vanessa Villamarin (2011-2013) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Independent Study)
Current position: Clinical Research Assistant, National Children's Study, Pediatrics Dept, UMass Medical School
Maryam Semenov (2011-2013) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Independent Study
Current position: Graduate student, University of Southern California Pharmacy School
Kylee Deiter (2011-2013) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Independent Study
Pengse Po (2010-2013) BS Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Commonwealth Honors Project
Current position: Research Specialist, University of Pennsylvania
Danielle Rioux (2010-2012) BS in Biology; Commonwealth Honors Project
Current position: Graduate student, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Kyna Long (2010-2012) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Independent Study
Current position: Graduate student, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
Alexandra Cilano (2010-2012) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Independent Study
Current position: Clinical Technician, University of Rochester Medical Center
Shayla Russell (2010-2011) BS Psych-Neuro Track; Research Assistantship
Current position: Research Associate, Ocular Gene Therapy, Genzyme Corporation
Mike Riad (2009-2011) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Independent Study
Current position: Research Assistant, Brain and Cognitive Sciences and McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Katherine Hemingway (2009-2011) BS in Biology and Minors in Psychology and Spanish; Commonwealth Honors Project
Current position: Medical student, Florida Atlantic University
Craig Mehrmann (2010-2011) BS in Philosophy, BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Commonwealth Honors Project, Awarded a Bay State Summer Scholarship
Current position: Graduate student, Georgetown University, Complimentary and Alternative Medicine Program
Brianna Ciccone (2010-2011) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Commonwealth Honors Project - collaborative project with Davidson lab.
Current position: Graduate Student, Northeastern University
Nick Falbo (2009-2011) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Independent Study - collaborative project with Davidson lab.
Current position: President and CEO, SouthPointe Consulting
Amar Sher (2009-2010) BS in Psych-Neuro Track; Commonwealth Honors Project - collaborative project with Davidson lab; Awarded a Bay State Summer Scholarship
Current position: Medical Student, American University of Antigua College of Medicine
Troy Bringhurst (2009-2010) BS Psych-Neuro Track, Independent Study
Kristie Fierro (2009-2010) BA in Psych; Commonwealth Honors Project; Awarded an Honors Research Grant
Current position: Senior Activities Specialist, North Shore-LIJ Health System