Charles Chavkin, PhD | NAPE Center Director | Professor | Pharmacology | Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

The Chavkin lab focuses on understanding the molecular signaling of mu and kappa opioid receptors. They use a combination of molecular pharmacological, biophysical, anatomical, genetic and behavioral techniques to study the properties of the opioid systems in mouse brain. Current studies in the Chavkin lab are designed to further characterize how specific neural circuits controlling stress-induced potentiation of drug reward are regulated by the dynorphin/kappa receptor systems and how different kappa receptor agonists and antagonists display distinct functional selectivity.

Susan Ferguson, PhD | Associate Professor | Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences | Seattle Children’s Research Institute

The Ferguson lab uses a multi-level approach, combining molecular biology, circuitmapping and behavioral neuroscience, to understand the role of cortico-basal ganglia-thalamic circuitry in the development of behaviors that are associated with drug reward and addiction, as well as in the processes that underlie decision-making, motivation and impulsivity.

Michael Bruchas, PhD | Professor | Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine | Pharmacology | Bioengineering

The Bruchas lab aims to dissect how GPCR systems function in the contexts of stress, depression, addiction, and pain.  We strive for a greater understanding of these receptors in real time, within intact systems, and biologically relevant models of behavior.  We utilize pharmacological, optogenetic, genetic, viral, imaging, behavioral, and cutting-edge engineering approaches to uncover the specific role of GPCRs and their endogenous transmitters within in vivo neural circuits that modulate affective behavior.

Sam A. Golden, PhD | Assistant Professor | Biological Structure

The Golden Lab focuses on understanding the neural mechanisms and circuits guiding motivated social behavior, with a special interest in aggression reward, addiction and depression. We use chemogenetics, optogenetics, calcium imaging, whole-mount light-sheet fluorescent microscopy and machine-learning approaches.

Benjamin Land, PhD | Pharmacology

The Land lab is interested in the intersection of opioids and cannabinoids in the context of pain management and substance use disorder. Specifically, they are interested in how cannabinoids may or may not be used to treat chronic pain in conjunction with opioids, and the associated addiction risk. The Land lab uses whole animal pharmacology, viral methods, modern imaging techniques, and biochemical approaches.

Sheri Mizumori, PhD | Professor | Psychology

Understanding the mechanisms of neuroplasticity as related to learning and memory is fundamental to our understanding of the causes of a variety of cognitive disorders as well as the developmental changes in learning that occur across the lifespan. The Mizumori laboratory attempts to address these issues by using a rodent model of spatial navigation to investigate the dynamic responses of single neurons in the brain, as well as the complex interactions between populations of cells located in different memory-related structures.

John Neumaier, MD, PhD | Professor | Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences | Pharmacology

The Neumaier laboratory investigates the interface of pharmacology, molecular neuroscience, and behavior. We use strategies that span several levels of organization from RNA regulation, protein translation, cellular plasticity, and neural circuit level analysis of complex behaviors relating to stress and addiction models. We use rat and mouse behavioral models as well as in vitro cultures of cell lines and primary neurons to study components of intracellular signaling pathways.

Richard Palmiter, PhD | Professor | HHMI | Biochemistry

The Palmiter lab is interested in the neural circuits that control innate behaviors such as eating and drinking. Palmiter and his team use mouse genetic models and viral gene transfer to study neural circuits in specific brain regions. Their goals are to visualize where relevant neurons are located and where they project their axons, to record the neurons’ activity in real time, and to evaluate the behavioral and physiological consequences of activating or inhibiting those neurons. They also aim to identify downstream targets of certain neurons and discern how they are involved in responding to various threats, including pain, itch, and food poisoning.

Paul Phillips, PhD | Professor | Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences | Pharmacology

Work in the Phillips lab investigates the role of dopamine transmission in normal and pathological mental function (including drug abuse) utilizing multi-disciplinary approaches. The lab uses traditional behavioral paradigms such as operant behavior and classical conditioning as well neuroeconomic approaches to study decision making. During these studies, dopamine neurotransmission is monitored directly using real-time electrochemistry to identify components of dopamine transmission that are altered during behavior or pathology, and computational models are applied to these data.

Garret Stuber, PhD | Professor | Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine | Pharmacology

The major goal of the Stuber lab is to delineate the neural circuits involved in the manifestation of neuropsychiatric disorders including addiction, maladaptive eating behaviors, and anxiety. To accomplish this, the Stuber lab take a multidisciplinary approach, relying on innovative techniques to selectively perturb and monitor neural activity in genetically specified populations of mammalian neurons.

Larry Zweifel, PhD | Professor | Pharmacology | Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

The main focus of the research efforts in the Zweifel lab are to define how specific genes influence neuronal connectivity and function within neural circuits that regulate innate and motivated behaviors with a special emphasis on genes linked to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and depression.

Andre Berndt, PhD | Assistant Professor | Bioengineering

The Berndt develops biosensors for optogenetics. They aim to detect impaired neuronal function which will provide key knowledge about the underlying causes of neurological disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and depression. Research interests include structure-guided and automated high throughput protein engineering, optogenetics, and neuronal circuit dynamics in mammalian disease models.

Ajay Dhaka, PhD | Associate Professor | Biological Structure

The Dhaka lab is interested in understanding the mechanism by which sensory information is coded by the peripheral nervous system, and how specific subclass specificity and neuronal circuit assembly occurs during development. In addition, we are working to identify novel sensory receptors for modalities such as mechanosensation, temperature and nociception. These are fundamental neurobiology themes that are relevant to the study of the many forms of chronic pain, which are debilitating to millions of individuals.

Jan M. (Nino) Ramirez, PhD | Professor | Seattle Children’s Research Institute | Neurological Surgery

The Ramirez lab has a general research interest in the neural control of rhythmic activity. He studies neural mechanisms involved in the generation of respiratory rhythms, neocortical activity, and epilepsy. He is also interested in the neuronal mechanisms underlying erratic breathing in Rett syndrome, familial dysautonomia, congenital hypoventilation syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and pediatric epilepsy, as well as burst firing in dopaminergic neurons, possibly linked to ADHD. Dr. Ramirez’s current work is focused on hypoxic effects on mammalian respiratory neural networks.

Mitra Heshmati, MD, PhD. | Assistant Professor | Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine |Biological Structure

Dr. Heshmati’s research focuses on understanding the neurobiology of delirium and social behavior using relevant behavioral modeling and neural circuit dissection. Lab website:  https://sites.google.com/uw.edu/heshmati/home

Abigail G. Schindler, PhD | Assistant Professor | Psychiatry | eScience Institute | VA Puget Sound Health Care System GRECC

The Schindler lab is interested in in traumatic stress and its comorbidities (e.g. affective disorders, substance abuse, metabolic dys-function, neurodegeneration). Using an iterative translation approach, they utilize both human and animal populations and focus on reciprocal connections between the brain and peripheral organs (e.g. liver, gut, lymph) in order to under-stand adverse outcomes of traumatic stress from a systems biology standpoint. Schindler and her team are especially interested in under-standing the role of monoamines (e.g. dopamine, seroto-nin) and neuromodulators (e.g. opioids, cytokines). They uti-lize computational medicine approaches (e.g. machine learning, big data, electronic health records, biomarkers) and are committed to open source science.

Carlos Campos, PhD | Assistant Professor | Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Nutrition

The Campos lab examines how physiological signals related to internal state interact with other sensory systems to affect learning and memory, the neurological underpinnings of prediction. We study both sensory systems that convey the status of the body to the brain, that innervate internal organs to sense things such as hunger, illness, arousal, as well as those that sense the external world and the quality of the objects within it – for example the feeling of pain or the tastiness of food that motivates approach or avoidance. In studying these systems and the places in the brain where they interact, we hope to discover how we learn to predict changes to our physiology based on associations with our external world.

Brock Grill, PhD | Professor | Pediatrics | Pharmacology | Seattle Children’s Research Institute  

Dr. Brock Grill’s overarching interest is understanding how signaling influences development and function of the nervous system. His team’s major research directions include: 1) Using in vivo proteomics to decipher how ubiquitin ligase activity and intracellular signaling hubs affect axon termination, synapse maintenance and neuron function. 2) Using engineered forward genetic approaches to interrogate how u-opioid receptor sensitivity and tolerance are regulated.

Li Li, MD, PhD | Assistant Professor | Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine | Seattle Children’s Hospital  

Dr. Li Li’s interests are in brain neural circuits involved in modulating arousal and developing more precise anesthetics.

Nephi Stella, PhD | Professor | Pharmacology | Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

The laboratory of Dr. Nephi Stella studies the molecular mechanism and therapeutic value of cannabinoid-based molecules and is developing brain-penetrant small molecules for the treatment of brain cancers. 

Liangcai Gu, PhD | Associate Professor | Biochemistry

The Gu lab uses integrated approaches for spatiotemporal, multimodal measure and control of complex living systems from molecules to tissues. Techniques frequently used in current projects include protein display and high-throughput screening, polony gel fabrication and sequencing, Pixel-seq, SMI-seq, mass spectrometry, and fluorescence imaging. Th Gu lab applies new tools to study cellular senescence in tissues and brain mechanisms of chronic pain and addiction, to improve safety and efficacy of gene and cell therapies, and to guide the evolution of multi-enzyme machinery making high-value chemicals.

Nathan Sackett, MD, MS, RN | Assistant Professor | Psychiatry

Nathan Sackett, MD, MS, RN is trained as an addiction psychiatrist, focusing on the intersection between substance use and psychiatric disorders. Clinically, he works primarily outpatient seeing a range of patients with primary psychiatric issues and substance use disorders. His research focuses on the use of psychedelics to treat substance use disorders with a particular interest in how psychedelics can augment the psychotherapeutic process and facilitate behavioral change.

Nathan Baertsch, PhD | Assistant Professor | Pediatrics, Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine | Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Center for Integrative Brain Research

The Baertsch Lab investigates how breathing is generated and regulated by the brain. By uncovering fundamental cellular and network mechanisms of respiratory control, we hope to inspire new therapeutic interventions to treat breathing disorders associated with neurological pathology, prematurity, and opioid use.

Marta Soden, PhD | Research Assistant Professor | Pharmacology

The Soden Lab is interested in the physiology and circuit connections that underlie the activity patterns and functions of neurons that regulate motivated behavior. They utilize a variety of techniques including patch clamp electrophysiology, gene manipulation with CRISPR/Cas9, fiber photometry, and optogenetics to ask questions about circuit connectivity, gene function, cellular physiology, and behavioral output.

Tamer M. Gamal El-Din | Research Assistant Professor | Pharmacology

The Gamal El-Din Lab is interested in understanding the channelopathy of voltage-gated sodium and calcium ion channels. These are diseases caused by missense mutation of their respective genes. It includes diseases of the nervous system (e.g., epilepsy, familial hemiplegic migraine, episodic ataxia, IEM), the muscular system (e.g., hyperkalemic and hypokalemic periodic paralysis), the cardiovascular system (e.g., long QT syndrome, short QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome).