Associate Professor of Psychology
Phone: (607) 777-5782
Office: Science IV, Room 124
Member of the Society for Neuroscience, Center for Development and Behavioral Neuroscience (Binghamton University).
Alcohol action, tolerance, addiction, neuropsychiatric disorders, neuroplasticity, neuropharmacology, molecular genetics
Although alcohol and other drugs pervade many aspects of society, it is not completely understood why individuals respond differently, or why some individuals succumb to alcoholism. Additionally, the underlying differences in sensitivity and tolerance across development are not understood. By understanding how some individuals vary in sensitivity and how individuals adapt to alcohol exposure, better therapeutic methods may be developed to treat alcohol abuse and alcoholism. The brain has an amazing ability to regulate itself in response to various stimuli such as alcohol. Work in our lab explores molecular targets within the brain such as receptors and intracellular pathways that may play a role in alcohol action. We employ many molecular, biochemical and neuropharmacological methods in cellular and animal models to assess the role of various gene-products in alcohol’s effects during development. Additionally, our lab is interested in the molecular basis of various neuropsychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Philosophy of Graduate Training:
Graduate school is a critical period of professional and personal growth and development where ambition and optimism abounds. As a mentor, my focus is to help individuals harness their potential. My goal is to guide and assist students in obtaining the necessary skills to perform modern, innovative experiments and to help students pioneer new research directions. Additionally, students will gain experience in effectively communicating research through publications and oral presentations as they develop into independent scientists.
Werner DF, A Swihart, V Rau, F Jia, CM Borghese, ML McCracken, S Iyer, MS Fanselow, JM Sonner, EI Eger II, NL Harrison, RA Harris, GE Homanics. (Accepted). Inhaled anesthetic responses of recombinant receptors and knockin mice harboring 2(S270H/L277A) GABAA receptor subunits that are resistant to isoflurane. J Pharmacol Exp Ther.
Werner DF, Swihart AR, Ferguson, C, Lariviere WR, Harrison, NL, Homanics GE (2008) Alcohol-induced tolerance and physical dependence in mice with ethanol insensitive 1 GABAA receptors. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 33(2): 289-99. PMID: 19032579.
Sonner JM, Werner DF, Elsen FP, Xing Y, Liao M, Harris RA, Harrison NL, Fanselow MS, Eger EI, Homanics GE (2007) Effect of isoflurane and other potent inhaled anesthetics on minimum alveolar concentration, learning, and the righting reflexes in mice engineered to express 1 -aminobutyric acid type A receptors unresponsive to isoflurane. Anesthesiology 106(1): 107-13. PMID: 17197852.
Chandra D, Jia F, Liang J, Peng Z, Suryanarayanan A, Werner DF, Spigelman I, Houser CR, Olsen RW, Harrison NL, Homanics GE (2006) GABAA receptor subunits mediate extrasynaptic inhibition in thalamus and dentate gyrus and the action of gaboxadol. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103(41): 15230-5. PMID: 17005728.
Werner DF, Blednov YA, Ariwodola OJ, Silberman Y, Logan E, Berry RB, Borghese CM, Matthews D, Weiner JL, Harrison NL, Harris RA, Homanics GE (2006) Knock-in mice with ethanol-insensitive alpha1-containing GABAA receptors display selective alterations in behavioral responses to ethanol. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 319: 219-27. PMID: 16785315.