Umass Psychology People
Dr. Heather N. Richardson
Position(s): Assistant Professor
The Neurobiology of Stress and Addiction Lab
Males and females show different vulnerability to stress-related disorders such as anxiety, depression, and drug 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, drugs, and environmental toxins) 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 Kat Chang at email@example.com
Karanikas CA, Lu YL, 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)
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 uteroreduces 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 ÉM, 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.
Lab Alumni - Where are they now?
Chrisanthi Karanikas (MS, Neuroscience and Behavior Program; Masters Thesis)
NSB graduate student Yi-Ling Lu wins the best poster award at the Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium. Great job, Yi-Ling!
Richardson lab study featured on cover of Neuroscience. Congrats Chrisanthi and Yi-Ling!
Drs. Heather Richardson and Trevor Robbins chaired a symposium on Impulsivity, Compulsivity, and Addiction at the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society meeting in Dublin, Ireland.
NSB graduate student Yi-Ling Lu was awarded Dissertation Research Grant. Nice work, Yi-ing!
Undergraduate honors students Frank Jackson and Guillaume Pagnier were awarded a Commonwealth Honors College Research Assistant Fellowships. Congrats Frank and Guillaume!
Chrisanthi Karanikas earned her masters degree in Neuroscience and Behavior Program. Yea Chrisanthi!
The lab was awarded a grant from NIAAA of the National Institutes of Health: http://www.umass.edu/loop/content/neuroscientist-studies-adolescent-binge-drinking-and-brain-development