Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Center for Neurobiology and Behavior

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Behavioral Psychopharmacology

The Behavioral Psychopharmacology Laboratory, under the direction of Irwin Lucki, PhD, is an interdisciplinary blend of psychology and neurobiology. The major ongoing focus of the Behavioral Psychopharmacology Laboratory is the investigation of neural mechanisms underlying the behavioral effects of psychiatric medicines (e.g., antidepressant and antianxiety drugs) using animal models. The scientific goals of the laboratory are to understand the neural mechanisms associated with anxiety and mood disorders and to discover new approaches for the development of improved therapies for clinical treatment.

Approaches in the laboratory include: the study of behavioral pharmacology of affective and anxiety disorders, the use of genetically altered mice to study models of mice that are deficient of specific serotonin receptors or synthetic enzymes for monoamine transmitters, the use of behavioral genetics to identify genes associated with abnormal behaviors, pharmacogenetic predispostions for the effects of antidepressant drugs, neural mechanisms associated with stress vulnerability and resilience, and the involvement of neurogenesis and neuroplasticity in antidepressant treatments.

Investigators involved in this area:


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