April 13, 2018
Students in the laboratory of Glenn Stevenson, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Psychology, in collaboration with Kenner Rice, Ph.D., director, Drug Design and Synthesis, Molecular Targets/Medications Branch at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), published an original research paper in the prestigious journal Psychopharmacology on in vivo delta/mu opioid receptor interactions using operant conditioning assays to determine optimum therapeutic index.
The research project was performed by a number of current and former Stevenson Laboratory College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) undergraduates. CAS alum Katherine Cone ’15 (COM, ’20) was first author on the publication. Additional student co-authors included, Janell Lanpher ’17 (Psychology), Abigail Kinens ’17 (Psychology), Philomena Richard (Neuroscience, ’18), Sarah Couture (Neuroscience, ’18), Rebecca Brackin (Medical Biology and Neuroscience ’19), Emily Payne (Medical Biology, ’19) and Kylee Harrington (Neuroscience, ’20).
This paper is the first publication in the literature to characterize in vivo delta + mu opioid receptor interactions using methods of pain-depressed behavior that are thought to be more relevant to veterinary and clinical populations. These strategies of utilizing high-efficacy mu receptor and delta receptor compounds in fixed-ratio combinations, allows for determination of optimal receptor activation to produce enhanced pain relief with attenuated side effects.
Says Stevenson: “I am so proud of the high level of work performed by my undergraduate students and alumni. It is extremely rare to see undergraduates publish in journals of this caliber. Most importantly though, this publication is clear evidence of the high-quality work UNE undergraduates are doing in our laboratories, and these deep learning experiences should benefit them as they seek positions in masters-level and doctoral-level programs.”
Funding for the research was provided by a National Institutes of Health.
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