PSY 101 – Introductory Psychology
PSY 430 – Physiological Psychology
PSY 432 – Psychopharmacology
Current Research Interests
Drug abuse, including alcoholism, is a public health problem responsible for more than 25,000 deaths and $100 billion in costs annually in the United States alone. Many studies have demonstrated that alcoholics report feelings of stress, anxiety and depression as major reasons for relapse following abstinence. Although stress has been shown to be a key factor in mediating alcohol relapse, underlying neurobiological processes related to stress and relapse are not fully understood.
My research aims to investigate the role of the kappa opioid neurochemical system, which is thought to be a key mediator in the stress-related effects of drugs of abuse, in the physiological and behavioral adaptations associated with continued alcohol abuse. The ongoing projects in my laboratory indicate that kappa opioid mechanisms play a role in the regulation of stress-related behavior following abstinence from alcohol. Findings such as these may aid in the development of improved drug therapies that can be used as part of the treatment of alcoholism.
Project title: Kappa Opioid Regulation of Ethanol Withdrawal and Relapse
Representative Publications and Conference Presentations
Harshberger E, Gilson E, Gillett K, Stone J, El Amrani L, Valdez GR (2016). nor-BNI antagonism of kappa opioid agonist-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking behavior. Journal of Addiction. Article ID 1084235, 8 pages.
Valdez GR (2016) Corticotropin-releasing factor receptors as a potential target in the developments of antidepressant drugs. In Melatonin, Neuroprotective Agents, and Antidepressant Therapy, eds. F. López-Muñoz, V. Srinivasan, D. De Berardis MD, C. Álamo, TA Kato. New Delhi: Springer India.
Harshberger E, Gilson EA and Valdez GR. (2011) Enhancement of the behavioral stress response and ethanol reinstatement: regulation by kappa opioid receptor activation. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Washington, DC.
Valdez GR. (2011) Kappa opioid regulation of stress-related reinstatement and the behavioral stress response during withdrawal. Alcoholism and Stress: A Framework for Future Treatment Strategies. Volterra, Italy.
Valdez GR (2011) Corticotropin-releasing factor and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis regulation of the behavioral stress response and depression. In Neurobiology of Depression, ed. F. López-Muños. New York: Taylor & Francis Group.
Valdez GR (2009) CRF receptors as a potential target in the development of novel pharmacotherapies for depression. Cur Pharm Des 15:1587-94.
Valdez GR, Thomas KE, Goodrich E and Dekker KM. (2008) Kappa opioid receptor antagonism of the behavioral stress response following chronic exposure to ethanol. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Washington, DC.
Valdez GR, Platt DM, Rowlett JK, Ruedi-Bettschen D, Spealman RD (2007) Kappa agonist-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking in squirrel monkeys: A role for opioid and stress-related mechanisms. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 323:525-33.
Valdez GR (2006) Development of CRF1 receptor antagonists as antidepressants and anxiolytics: progress to date. CNS Drugs 20:887-96.
Valdez GR, Zorrilla EP, Koob GF (2005) Homeostasis within the corticotropin-releasing factor system via CRF2 receptor activation: a novel approach for the treatment of anxiety. Drug Dev Res 65:205-15.
Valdez GR, Koob GF (2004) Allostasis and dysregulation of corticotropin-releasing factor and neuropeptide Y systems: implications for the development of alcoholism. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 79:671-89.
Valdez GR, Sabino V, Koob GF (2004) Increased anxiety-like behavior and ethanol self-administration in dependent rats: Reversal via CRF2 receptor activation. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 28:865-72.
Valdez GR, Zorrilla EP, Rivier J, Vale WW, Koob GF (2003) Locomotor suppressive and anxiolytic-like effects of urocortin 3, a highly selective type 2 corticotropin-releasing factor agonist. Brain Res 980:206-12.
Valdez GR, Zorrilla EP, Roberts AJ, Koob GF (2003) Antagonism of corticotropin-releasing factor attenuates the enhanced responsiveness to stress observed during protracted ethanol abstinence. Alcohol 29:55-60.
Valdez GR, Inoue K, Koob GF, Rivier J, Vale WW, Zorrilla EP (2002) Human urocortin II: Mild locomotor suppressive and delayed anxiolytic-like effects of a novel corticotropin-releasing factor related peptide. Brain Res 943:142-50.
Valdez GR, Roberts AJ, Chan K, Davis H, Brennan M, Zorrilla EP, Koob GF (2002) Increased ethanol self-administration and anxiety-like behavior during acute ethanol withdrawal and protracted abstinence: Regulation by corticotropin-releasing factor. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 26:1494-501.